Take Action or Let It Go

shutterstock_85926040Kevin Geraghty, a psychotherapist in Boise, Idaho, told a scenario to his clients: Say you are in the ‘10 items or less’ line at the grocery store and you notice the person in front of you has a full cart of groceries and coupons. Kevin suggested that you do one of two things: either confront the person or checker, or decide not to confront them and let it go. But, he would point out, most of us do neither of those things. Rather, we do not confront and then remain angry and resentful the entire time that we wait in line and often for some time after that.

This story is of course a metaphor for how we create unnecessary anger, anxiety, and unhappiness for ourselves.

So if we think about Kevin’s suggestion, it requires that we make a decision about whether we are willing to do something about it or not. If we choose to not become an active part of the interaction where we could have an effect on the situation, it is not rational (or fair to ourselves) to hold onto the anger and judgment that the experience brings.

When we do not take action, we typically walk away thinking something like how inconsiderate people are. We may even tell our significant other about it when we get home.

The reality is that yes, the person was inconsiderate. But we had our opportunity to change the outcome in the store which would have given the shopper an opportunity to look at his or her inconsiderate behavior. It also would have given checker and other people in line an opportunity to observe being be less passive when someone is being inconsiderate.

But we chose not to. We willingly gave up our personal power of the situation- which may be what we were really angry about.

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