If it ain’t yours, don’t feel it.

I walked out of the grocery store on an unseasonably warm and sunny day greeted by a soft breeze. My body felt relaxed and I was happy. A smile was on my face which must have been nice because a gentleman who was walking the other direction developed a huge beautiful smile and thanked me for mine. How lovely! I was immediately thankful for the day, the breeze, and the beautiful interaction that stranger gifted me.

My next stop was the post office. A sweet older lady was coming in at the same time. I smiled and held the door for her and she slowly walked through. She said thank you, smiled, and seemed to have some sort of sweet gentleness about her. She and I took our places in the long line of silently waiting customers. The post office seemed to be understaffed. It was inspiring how patient the customers were.

A few moments later, a man in his late 60’s/early 70’s entered who seemed to be extremely unhappy. He bypassed the line of patrons and began sharply addressing the single attendant who was busy helping someone. The tension in the room increased and several of the people waiting shuffled their feet. It was uncomfortable. All eyes were on the lady behind the counter. After he finished his tirade, the woman took a deep breath and turned to him with a pleasant expression on her face, “Sir, I’m happy to help you with this, but it is an issue that will require my full attention. Please take your place in line.” The man was livid. He repeated his tirade at a higher volume as if to suggest the woman had not heard him correctly. The woman calmly finished with the current customer, smiled at the man again, and called the next person in line. He stormed out of the post office. The mood in the room immediately lightened.

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She did a great job of not absorbing the negative energy from that horrible man. A much better job, by the way, than the people who were waiting in line who nervously started to fidget, look at their phones and shuffle their feet. 

The lesson here is for all of us: DON’T ADOPT OTHER PEOPLE’S NEGATIVITY. This is toxic to your personal ecosystem! If it’s difficult for you to respond with calmness like that saintly USPS worker, come up with a game plan for the way you plan to react to jerks… because they are out there and it will happen. Make a commitment to yourself that you’ll act like a turtle and let it roll off your back. Otherwise, you’re allowing even the slightest negative energy from those around you to impact you in many ways.

Next week I’ll move deeper into the topic of toxic people and what to look for so you can truly take out your emotional trash and move on with a cleaner, lighter sense of self!

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