“Don’t confuse my personality with my attitude. My personality is who I am. My attitude depends on who you are.”
This quote has been doing the internet rounds for a while now. Yep, it’s feisty and sends a ‘Don’t mess with me message’. But this sentiment is actually weakness….
Why would you allow someone else to have that type of power and control over you?
A few years ago, I was working as a checkout chick at our local supermarket. I’d been there 3 years and for the most part, I loved getting to know the locals and building a good rapport with them. I’d never had a single complaint made against me and I prided myself on my smile and friendly attitude. Until…. Everything in my life seemed to be falling apart. My marriage was sitting on precarious ground. We were moving house, again, the second time in six months. A member of our immediate family had just given birth to their first child, stillborn. And we felt powerless, unable to offer any support to this incredibly private couple. I was in a depressed and self-destructive mindset and was struggling to maintain sanity. I arrived at work one fateful (bit dramatic) afternoon, swiped on for my shift and the very first customer I served proved to be the straw that broke this camel’s back.
Mid transaction she asked for cash out, I explained that as she was my first customer, I didn’t actually have the money in the till to give her, but was happy to transfer her to another register where a larger amount could be given. I say explained, but actually I didn’t get to explain the whole thing as she kept speaking over the top of me. Finally, she looked at me and spoke with a tone that was saturated in condescension, “Fine, well can I have $20? Do you think you can handle that?”. I was furious, but I replied, “Yes, $20 is fine, I can do $20”.
The transaction ended, and as she was taking her bag, she loudly declared, “YOU, are the RUDEST person I have EVER come across.”
I looked her dead in the eye and said, “And YOU, can go F*** yourself”.
Obviously, the customer I had just verbally abused, complained.
Understandably, and rightly, I was asked to resign.
I tell you this story for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s something I’m deeply ashamed of. I have been petrified that people outside my close circle of friends would find out.
Uh huh, and now you’re blogging about it for all to see?
Yes, I am. Because shame has power. It has the power to make me fear. Fear what people will think, fear the loss of respect, fear the loss of reputation and credibility.
But do you know what I fear more? Donning a mask, fuelling misconception, inviting you into a masquerade. Inviting you to see only an edited, photoshopped version of myself.
I would much prefer, despite how uncomfortable it is for me, you to see flaws in me and yet still glimpse, still recognise that amid all this crap, and with VERY little to work with, Father God is still interested in working. If He can work with mine, He can work with yours too!
Secondly, I write this to highlight the danger of the above quote. To show you that the power we yield over our thoughts and actions is massive. It belongs with us, we must take ownership of it.
The consequences of poorly managed thoughts and actions are devastating.
My poor self-management had terrible financial and personal consequences that put immense pressure on an already strained marriage.
The customer I write about was undeniably rude to me, but how I allowed her behaviour to affect me, was MY choice.
It’s my choice to manage my emotional responses. It’s my choice to decide how much power I will allow someone else to have over me.
My attitude should be based around the knowledge of my identity. My purpose.
I am loved, cherished, accepted. Others may chose to mistreat me, misunderstand me, malign me. It will hurt, I will be angry. But I won’t allow that hurt, that anger to change me, to change my attitude. That is something they can’t have, you can’t have. It is mine.
I submit its power only to the one who has any real authority to help me manage it appropriately. God.
Next time you see that ‘attitude’ quote pop up, think about it for a moment….