Stress – Situation or Reaction

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Last week for me didn’t start well following receipt of a shitty letter for a parking fine on a vehicle which isn’t mine. Yes, I had a moment of anxiety when opening and reading the letter, however it would be my reaction which would then determine how the rest of my day would then go. Initially I had the mindset that it didn’t matter, wasn’t my car, so who cares, however I knew I still had to make time to deal with this letter, time which is precious to me, and time which I could never get back (dramatic but true).

A call was made to the debt collecting company, and during this call my stress level went from a 2, straight up to a 9, following an abusive and rude call handler at the other end. As I calmly tried to advise him that it wasn’t my car, and I had been nowhere near Sutton Coldfield, he kept talking over me and telling me he didn’t care. He kept repeating that the car was registered to me, and that if I didn’t pay the final demand immediately, they would proceed to court. I tried several times to repeat the information I was giving him about not being the owner of the car, and the conversation went around in circles, with him becoming more arrogant as he went along. He told me that as I refused to listen to him (yes really), he couldn’t then be bothered to speak to me anymore, and he would now progress the matter further, then he hung up the phone. Wow…..

Firstly my mind took me to a place which reminded me that I wouldn’t look good in prison stripes, and whilst trying to adjust my mindset to a more positive outcome, I genuinely struggled with how I had just been spoken to. I was absolutely fuming, how dare he, who does he think he is, what a bully, how many people would have just paid out of being frightened? My challenge now was to adjust my thoughts, ignore his threats, and carry on with my day as if it never happened. What was the worst that could actually happen, they may take me to court for a car which isn’t mine, they would look so stupid in court considering I had now advised them by phone, and following this, by email, that it wasn’t my car.

This was a stressful moment, on a Monday morning, and not a great start to the day, or my week, but I had a choice, a choice to let it ruin my day, or a choice to put it to the back of my mind and move on, and guess which one I chose… I chose to track the call handler down to his office, wait outside, then cover him in eggs and flour whilst screaming obscenities at him, not! Nope, I put this to the back of  my mind and moved on of course, after some colourful language and the creation of a few new words for my vocabulary.

It is not necessarily the situation which causes the stress, it is our reaction to the situation which creates the moment, and sets out our day and the hours which then follow. Sometimes the best reaction is no reaction at all, after all, it isn’t even my car or anything to do with me. Do not get upset with people or situations, both are powerless without our reaction, and life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it.