Don't let anyone ruin your day

“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice


I don't know about you, but when I feel slighted, wronged, or annoyed, my default response is not to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

I don't default to a stance of grace and mercy even though I SAY I value these qualities most.

To the guy who cuts me off I line I'm more likely to whisper a "REALLY?" under my breath.  Or I'll stew and have conversations in my head where I tell him off.  I'll notice his wedding ring and think, "His poor wife has to live with that behavior daily!" I will secretly cheer as the cashier struggles to replace the receipt tape.  (I'm evil, I know!)

If I run out of ways to huff and puff, then, and ONLY then, do I start to consider other options.

Maybe he's distracted by something and oblivious to what he just did. Maybe he didn't notice me. Or perhaps he is in a panic to get to his next appointment and he's suspending his normal, delightful disposition.  Any of these circumstances could be true.

Or maybe he really is a rude and inconsiderate person.

The "truth"  of who he is irrelevant.

Hang with me a second. I'm not saying having a context wouldn't make it easier for me to choose an "appropriate" response (in other words, it would help me decide how hacked off I should be), but the person HE is choosing to be shouldn't alter the person I decide to be.

Whether it's this situation or others, why do I allow the behavior of others to determine my mood and my values? Am I alone on this path?

Do you ever give someone else power over you? Do you allow another person's behavior to determine how you respond? Do you stay in control or do you give that control away?

On days when I get this right, I've usually decided, in advance, to set my expectations on who I need to be regardless of circumstances and that a loving response is always appropriate.

The quality of mercy is never, ever strained.