Okay, I admit it. There is something that people do that drives me crazy. Sometimes they do it out of selfishness and other times out of ignorance. And I guess for many people, they just don’t pay attention. Regardless, it gets me mad. Please don’t make your problems mine. My daughter, whom I dearly love, has a habit of doing this rather often. It simply drives me crazy. Here’s one story to illustrate my point.
I woke up one morning with a terrible backache. I knew I had purchased a bottle of Advil the week before and went to take a couple tablets before heading off to a full day of meetings. I went to the bathroom where I knew I had kept the bottle. It wasn’t there. I thought hmmm, where could it be? I began to look in the other bathrooms and quickly moved on to my daughter’s bedroom as I suspected that she might have been the one to take it. After searching the house for some ten minutes, my time was up. I needed to leave for the day. As this was not an uncommon occurrence, I decided to
text my daughter and inquire if she knew where the Advil was. She called me back and said she had taken the bottle and it was in her purse. As expressed my frustration explaining that I was in pain and needed the Advil but could not find it, she responded by saying she didn’t know what the big deal was and that she needed to get off the phone and go to work. I responded by saying that I too, needed to get to work, but now I would need to make an extra stop to purchase more Advil.
Now I know from a distance, it seems like a small thing. A simple mistake. And yes, these things occur all the time. We are all human. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take notice. In the case of my daughter, sometimes it’s an Advil, other times it’s the hair brush she can’t find or the office supplies she needs for school or some other item that she wants in order to solve her immediate problem or fill her immediate need. The problem is that as she may have solved her immediate problem, she passes that problem onto someone else. Now I have a problem that I didn’t have before or I no longer have a household item that I was depending on using. This is where the thoughtlessness comes in.
And while my daughter eventually understands her mishaps and apologizes, the impact remains to same. And the impact has a ripple effect. The disappearance of the Advil affects me and most likely my ability to arrive to my meeting on time. Arriving late to my meeting impacts all the people waiting for me which impacts their ability to perform their tasks in a timely manner. This impacts their ability to satisfy their customer’s needs and so on and so on. The ripple effect can be small or large depending on the circumstances.
So I urge you. Please think about how your actions will impact those around you. Find ways to solve your problem that doesn’t pass the problem onto someone else. Ask before you take. Remember the ripple effect. Your relationships will thank you for it. The world around you will thank you for it. And frankly, I will thank you for it.
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com