Getting Your Mind Right
There are a whole lot of things I can’t control, but I don’t want to be one of them. I want to be in charge of how I react to whatever’s happening. I don’t want my responses to be dictated by some past experience that welled-up unnoticed and handled a situation it had no business being anywhere near. I don’t want my fears to dictate where I go or circumscribe what I do. I can’t have the specter of this morning’s problems haunt my afternoon. A sister is busy. I need to have the presence of mind to let my mind handle my present.
I don’t want the least of me to command the rest of me. While I’m not ashamed of my odd, I’m not enamored of it either. While some of my weird is helpful other parts are not. So I make sure that the latter doesn’t mess up the good things the former does.
I have to be in command of me even if I can’t command the situation so at the very least I don’t fool around and make matters worse. To do that I have to, in my mother’s words, “Get my Mind Right.” “Getting Your Mind Right” is a decision to actively address how you feel. This is how my mother explained it to me as my impatience showed up and was about to show out one day at the DMV.
“Get your mind right, ” she said. “This process is what it is and there isn’t anything you can do about it. You should have been prepared when you came here to feel a little annoyed and you should know enough not to pass that along. That woman up there didn’t think up this mess and she has a job to do. All day long she deals with impatient people like you who are angry with her for something that is not her fault. If you want this thing to go a little smoother, go up there and be especially nice. Sympathize with the problems she has and she’ll be more likely to go out of her way for you. Either way this process is what it is. How you feel when you leave here is completely up to you.”
I now live my entire life with that last line in mind. I don’t act on how I feel until I figured out whether it will help me get what I need to get done, even if it’s just maintaining my personal peace during a situation I can’t control.
I work my emotions like a job. I think everybody should.