Have you ever had one of those moments where it seems like everything going on around you is aimed directly at you? Like it’s the universe trying to tell you a message?
I had a moment like that this week. And it was almost a bit scary.
I was co-facilitating a learning session, discussing topics such as stress, resiliency and wellbeing. During one of the discussions, one of the participants shared a recent story with the group. This is nothing unusual for these types of sessions however, it was this example they shared that really hit home for me.
The way they described it, it sounded exactly like something I’d been through recently myself. However, I hadn’t quite come to the same realization as what they had. What they began to explain made a lot of sense and made me realise that perhaps I needed to re-look at my own actions and the reasons behind them.
You see, what happened, or should I say, what I did was not very nice. I answered a phone call, as you do, and proceeded to talk with the woman on the other end. We had a brief exchange of pleasantries before she jumped into her sales pitch regarding her charity. I donate to charity when I can and as a result, they had my number yet on this occasion, she didn’t give me a chance to speak. Had she done so, I would have told her I didn’t actually have the time to talk as I was working.
She talked in great length about the misfortune of children afar and what their charity is doing for them. She mentioned how I could help and what could be achieved. All of this sounding great… Or so I think. You see, my mind drifted about 2 minutes into her spiel. I started thinking about my workload, the fact this woman seemed to talk non-stop without breathing and started thinking about the time I was wasting on this call. As she talked, I pulled my head away from the phone and looked at the screen. “What would happen if I just hung up? She doesn’t know me. I don’t know her.” I thought. So, without a word, I hung up.
Maybe this doesn’t seem very mean to you. Perhaps you’ve done the same thing as well? What I thought would happen next was that she would phone back with some excuse like, “I think we got disconnected.” To my surprise, she didn’t phone back, and I haven’t heard from them since. However, it didn’t stop me from feeling bad for what I did.
In listening to the participant tell their similar story and the lesson they learnt from it, I felt like this was the universe telling me exactly what I needed to hear. What I did, in my opinion on reflection, was not the nicest way to handle the situation. This woman was doing her job and sounded new to the role. I could have simply interrupted her and said, “I don’t have time now but perhaps call me later”. But I didn’t respond like that. I didn’t handle it the best way possible.
So why is that? Why did I make that decision? As the participant continued their story, I felt as though they were aiming their lessons and their learnings directly at me. It felt for a moment like they were talking only to me. Although, this is possibly because I was the one standing at the front of the room…
They got me thinking. I reacted to this call badly. At the same time, I reacted to a few other situations recently quite badly. Clearly it wasn’t the other people that were the problem. It was me. Why was I suddenly being a complete bitch? And no, it wasn’t in relation to PMS. That would be too easy… I was being an absolute asshole because of my own situation, thoughts and feelings that I was creating myself. In actual fact, I probably did have the time to listen to that woman on the phone, but I was stressed and rather than taking a moment to chill, I imploded.
We all have those moments where we push ourselves too far. For me, being pushed too far is never pretty. I often hurt those around me. It’s a lesson I’m still learning and working on. One thing I’ve certainly learnt this week, thanks in part to the participant for sharing their own story, is that even a mindless act of hanging up should be a signal to myself that I’m not ok. That I need to chill and de-stress.
After realizing all of this during the session, we continued on and my co-facilitator said something a bit later in the session that also felt directed at me. Of course, it wasn’t directed at me but in that moment, that’s what really got me thinking, the universe is trying to tell me something today. Two people had aimed the same message in my direction. Possibly just coincidence but it felt purposeful. Thank you universe (or God, or whomever/whatever you believe), I got the message loud and clear and I’m sorry. I will absolutely be looking to make improvements going forward so I don’t take my stress out on other people again in future.
I’m proud to say the rest of the week I’ve been absolutely happy and kind to others. It probably helps that I’ve also eaten a lot more ice cream this week too 😉
Have you had a situation like this? What was it you learned? And how? I’d love to hear from you!