Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Little victories. And making peace.

Saw this on friend's gchat status:

"I have a week left at this place, and I'm going to steal all the fucking Splenda before I go" - my secretary

And it reminded me, sometimes life is about the little victories. By little victories, I don't necessarily mean the battles we (actually) win or lose.  What I mean is what we consider to be victories and how we make peace with the situations and circumstances we find ourselves in.

For example, let me illuminate with the concept of "Aldrin justice."  This was introduced to me via How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) and it has to do with how the character of Lily Aldrin doles out "justice."  She was previously a kindergarten teacher and believes in punishing bad behavior by taking away something from the perpetrator.  For example, someone at The Gap was mean to Robin and Lily took a pair of khakis (not stealing because she is doling out Aldrin justice).

Aldrin Justice
Lily, as a kindergarten teacher, thought that taking away a "toy" from someone to punish their meanness was fair, i.e. an appropriate response.

My friend's secretary thought that taking all the Splenda from a firm (that probably sucked out her soul and leeched off her blood/sweat/tears for its profits) was fair as well.

As for me?  What is my little victory?  Where do I find my own small justice?  It's maybe super-lame and even a bit of a cop-out, but I'm a huge believer in karma.  So, rather than partaking in my own form of vigilante justice, I make peace with what I perceive as inequities or little rudenesses by reminding myself that karma is indeed a B-word and that other person will get theirs (in the end).

It's a small way out - but it works for me.  One more strategy I use, it's not really a strategy so much as a perspective but it helps me get through the day.  I used to get very frustrated and annoyed at employees in the service industry - particularly restaurant workers: when they forget my order or request, when they were slow in getting me water, and cashiers: when they are SUPER-slow at their job, when they forget to remove the security tag, when they mess up ringing you up/giving you change.

One day (actually, probably many times), my dad would see me get annoyed and verbalize some version of "[This job] is NOT that difficult!" and he told me, "If they were as smart as you, do you think they would be doing this job?"  He meant this as a compassionate comment - that I should have mercy on these folks doing the best they could with what they were genetically/societally given and be more understanding of their shortcomings.  However, I've found you can stretch that into what can amount to small victories (by comparing myself to people who are rude or mean to me).

For example, I had a series of "misunderstandings" with a "friend," where basically I felt I was being used (this friend would only call/text/want to hang out under the pretext of "catching up" when she needed me to do something for her) and would conveniently be busy whenever I initiated contact/spending time together (because, you know, I thought we were friends).  I was upset and a bit angry at first, but then the more I thought about it - I saw there were things missing from her life, her insecurities, her flaws.  I saw that although she had a group of outwardly fabulous friends, she couldn't count on them to support her or be there for her in her times of need.  I realized I was indeed lucky in having great friends I could rely on - friends who were not merely fairweather friends.  And although it's not really "justice" - I realized that I'm lucky in a way that she's not.

I guess, this could be a "victory" if I thought about it as, "Well, you may be using me but ultimately I have true friends and you don't."  But that seems petty and small (but ok, I maybe think that way sometimes - when I am especially upset by how someone has treated me).  But really, I want to be the kind of person my dad is: someone who views the other person's mistreatment of me as a manifestation of their own flaws and then is able to act compassionately in response to understanding that flaw/shortcoming (instead of the way I sometimes see it, which is, as previously mentioned, "Haha, I'm smarter than you and not a McDonald's cashier and so I won't let it bother me when you give me attitude").

So, as per usual, this turned into a bit of a rambling-on about how I make peace with (little) things that annoy me in the world, but here's your USEFUL TUESDAY TAKEAWAY:

Find your own (non-violent) way to make peace with (what happens to you in) the world.

And stick with it.  It'll lower your blood pressure.  You'll produce less cortisol and gain less weight.  You'll be able to let things go instead of letting old grudges fester inside you.  You'll be a happier person.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Then you'll smile more.  And your future spouse will fall in with your smile.  See how I just helped you find the soulmate of your life and future parent of your kids???  Haha =D  Just try it.  Thank me later by serving ice cream cake at your wedding.  ^^


sylvia said...

so i should stop trying to enact revenge?

just kidding

ps - does holding on to anger really produce weight gain?

Christine said...