When I was 16 years I recall sitting at the dining room table when my dad “went off.” He was known to do this every now and again. He would lose his cool, furrow his eyebrows and raise his voice to decibel levels that would rival any rock concert. I especially hated the yelling and on this particular occasion leaned over to my sister-in-law and said, “I not going to be like that when I grow up.” I may not have had much in the way of self-awareness at age sixteen, but to this day I hate yelling and screaming.
Fast-forward 38 years and this morning I was scrolling through Facebook when a friend of mine posted these wonderful words – “Don’t Settle.” While I have tried to be true to that commitment to keep my cool – there have been times through the years I failed miserably. Bill’s words were a welcome reminder that I don’t have to settle for less in life. Yes, it is true that others sometimes impact our actions and emotions. As much as we would like to be, we do not have dictatorial control of every situation, but we can choose how to live.
All too often in life we are far more reactive than we are proactive. We react to others behavior, react to the economic downturn, react to stress, disappointment, failure and in doing so we allow those feelings and emotions to dictate our actions. The other day I was sitting at lunch watching this older man just lambast his waitress. His food was cold, his drink needed more ice, the ketchup was watery – if it was happening at his table he was complaining about. The thing was he wasn’t just complaining, he had made up his mind to make this poor girl miserable (and I say girl – should didn’t look a day over 20). Through it all she smiled, treated the man with far more respect than he deserved, and made every effort to make him happy. She choose not to be drawn into his drama.
What life are you choosing each day? It really is your choice. You may not be able to choose what happens at work, or how your husband treats you, or the fact that you ran over a nail and got a flat tire on the way to work, but you can choose how to respond to adversity. I am not willing to settle for less than a happy, contented life – how about you?