You always have a choice in how you react to things.
Making the right choice has been a difficult journey for me. In the past I've reacted with tears, anger, revenge, jealousy, self-pity, and on and on. Over the past few years I've taken a hard look at my negative reactions, realized they do me or anyone else any good and have made the effort to react to situations in a positive way. I'm not perfect, but I am improving.
Today I had was faced with several unpleasant situations, both personally and professionally. Some minor; some major. The way I chose to react to them today was far more positively than I would have in the past. Some situations I dismissed without much thought: what's done is done; I will gain nothing from regrets. Some took all my power not to run to a corner, curl up in a ball and let the tears flow.
I'll give you one example. This one wasn't major but it did leave me frustrated and disappointed.
For the past three years I've traveled to Tucson in January for a continuing education seminar of sorts. This January will be my final year of the training. I know from past experience that the rooms in the Marriott sell out and that it's best to book your room as soon as you get back from your last trip. I, however, was lazy and did not book my room. I received an e-mail today about enrollment being open and that prompted me to call the hotel to book my room. You can see where this is going. After giving the customer service rep all my info she proceeded to tell me the hotel was already booked.
I let out a big sigh, thanked her and hung up with a little extra force than usual.
I do not want to be in a different hotel. It means I'd have to take a bus to the classes and all the events. It means I'd have to make arrangements to meet my friends out for dinner. It was going to be a major pain and I was ticked at myself for not making the reservations and I was ticked that the hotel was already booked.
How was I going to continue to react?
I could have continued to be ticked and figured there was nothing that could be done and ended up at a different hotel and been bitter about it the whole time I would be at the training.
Or, I could try and do something about it. I chose that option. I sent an e-mail to my other classmates to first of all tell them the situation in case they hadn't booked their room either and secondly to see if anyone had any leads on how I could get into the hotel.
I had three people respond right away. One just to say he couldn't help :) and two to tell me to they were in a similar situation the previous year and not to give up. Keep checking back to see if any rooms open up.
Right away I felt better. Physically and emotionally.
What ended up happening was my e-mail was forwarded to the event organizers who responded to the group (we are just one group of over ten) telling us it was a mistake. There were more rooms available and they were working with the hotel to get the extra rooms released. I ended up booking my room before the day was over.
See how that worked out for me? Granted, it could have gone a whole other direction but the point is I chose to react positively to the situation. I didn't give up. I asked for help. My friends reached out to me and let me know they had been there too. And then I ended up getting what I wanted in the first place.
That's a whole lot better than spending the next six months being ticked.
You always have a choice in how you react. How do you react to the bad choice you made at lunch? How are you going to react to feeling like you don't want to exercise? You have a choice when people offer you a piece of cake at a party (it IS ok to say no - really. I've done it and we all survived). You have a choice when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed - are you going to stay on that side or are you going to say "screw you wrong side of the bed, I belong on the right side!"