When you are sensitive, you can feel someone else’s mood a mile away, and it affects you like it would the smell of bad perfume. I learned an important lesson yesterday I wanted to share about setting boundaries and bad moods.
I took a detour yesterday and went to a different post office then my cozy, friendly one. I had to send a package via Customs and waited patiently in line. I had a few more packages fumbling under my arm that had to go to the States.
When I made my way to the Teller I felt it: Bad mood.
She looked at my package and told me curtly that it needed a Customs form. She talked to me like I was a moron and I was purposely insulting her. She then threw the form at me with no directions and brushed me away. Thinking logically, I asked her if I could just pay for the other packages and then fill out the form and she said no twice. That wasn’t how it was done.
The form came in a little booklet with lots of pages and made very little sense when you are in a hurry. I filled out the end form thinking that was the procedure and went back in line to face her again. This time I had the growing sensation of insecurity building up inside of me. “Was I stupid?” I stopped my train of thought quickly and sized up the situation. No, this woman had a “everyone is a moron but me” attitude going that I did not appreciate and it was affecting how I felt. I almost took it on.
Back in front of her, I lost my temper when she chastised me for only filling out the last form, without realizing that it was a duplicate and I should have filled out the first form.
“How the hell would I know that?” I snapped at her. I had been virally affected by her bad mood, and now I was hostile and on the defensive.
I walked away back to the desk to fill out the form “right.” That’s when the aha moment arrived. Eureka! I could walk away. I could take my stuff and go to another post office or even wait for another teller in line. I mumbled this out loud. I didn’t have to put up with her bad treatment or the bad mood she was flinging at others! I also didn’t have to get involved with defending myself or confronting her and showing her what she was doing. That wasn’t my job.
That’s when the Universe rewarded me immediately for my new lesson learned. The woman was so riled she walked into the back and was replaced by another teller who now was about to serve me.
This woman fawned over my cute little drawn mailing labels and stickers and complimented me. We chit-chatted about making art and how much we loved the process, and she told me about her art. When the transaction was completed, she said “Nice meeting you.”
This was a 180 degree turn around from what I had just experienced! I told the world what I wanted and what I didn’t want. And I threw what wasn’t mine back at the person and basically said, “Here. This isn’t mine, it’s yours.” I won’t put up with bad treatment.
Now I do understand that working at the post office is a very stressful job. My husband worked there for years and told me the counter was the hardest job of all. And I am always trying to understand where the other person is coming from and have compassion. But the teller expected defiance, rudeness, ignorance, and received it, by being rude! Her foul treatment passed along to me, and if I had owned her mood, caught that contagion, I would surely have passed it to many others throughout the day like a bad cold.
See it, just say No, and Yes to what you do want.