Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breathing Lessons

Sometimes, you just don't take to a person, and no matter how hard you talk to yourself about it, that's just how it is. There are two such persons at my job. Some days I sit there holding my breath and damn near turning blue so as to contain the force of exasperation (in one case) and resentment (in the other) that I feel toward them. Decorum can be so darned hard. And of course, my dislike of these two no doubt says more about me that it does about either of them. But I'm not going to analyze that today. I'm going to just exhale, one slow breath after the other as I remind myself that some people have real problems. Despite the petulant child at war with the responsible grown up inside me, I'm just going to sit here and banish the anxiety these two provoke in me, and do my do my do my job.


  1. Don't banish it. Use it as a thread to follow down to it's root and finally, finally deal with whatever issue brings this emotion to the surface. And take a bath. A sea salt bath. It will be magical. Promise.

  2. Wow, I hear you. I swear, there is one particular person at my job, and I do actually fantasize about smacking him in the face. With, like, a desk, or something.

    But he's so transparently sad, I see him do these things that annoy me tremendously and, even as part of my brain is daydreaming about violence, part of my brain is insisting that he is just looking for attention, he just wants to be seen and heard and validated as a human. That doesn't seem to happen to him much, I don't think. It is what we all want. He goes too far to get it, but not even that MUCH too far, really. He's not abusive, just... irritating.

    Maybe I'll make a little sign for my cubicle reminding myself to breathe into decorum.

  3. i i TOTALLY understand. don't even let those jokers get to you. if so, they've won.

  4. I had one of those in my office and there was just no getting rid of him. At some point in my reading, I came across something that said, in effect, the best way to deal with people like that was to be kind and compassionate, even to befriend them. I gave it a shot ... and it worked. He never changed, of course, but I did.

  5. Why IS it that our dislike of some people is just so visceral?

  6. i went to sleep thinking about this post, angella...and remembering those office days when i simmered in similar uncomfortable juices. my conclusion was, as your friend glenn above says: move the energy just a degree in your direction. a few silly christmas-wrapped reese's peanut butter cups on their desks; a sprig of mistletoe. all festers in your gut. then treat yourself to the really good dark chocolate, or some red tulips.

  7. Oh, thank you for this post. I needed it more than you can know. I'm struggling with much the same thing, wondering if I have what it takes to work for an unkind, cynical, indifferent boss. I've tried being nice, to no avail. Now I keep my head down and try not to take it personally, but the human in me wonders how people can be so blatantly not nice?? Hang in there, and I'll think of you on Monday when I'm trying not to be hurt or furious. I'll just keep breathing.

  8. Yes oh yes. I like all these ideas and Mel I have the same boss. I was so thrilled to see her Thursday. She had two giant pimples I swear the size of pencil erasers one on each side of her chin. A matching set. I almost got some Christmas cheer out of it.

    Rebecca the Evil

  9. It is rare that I encounter someone that really irks me but when I do I don't really know how to deal with it. It comes from my sense of doing the right thing and when people are rude and hurtful I find it hard to process.

    Too bad you can't surround yourself at work with people who you enjoy. It makes the day a little bit tougher but keep breathing.

  10. Kathleen, I don't feel emotionally safe with either of these souls. I don't trust them and one of them does no work, which aggravates me. but your pampering principle sounds like just the thing. hugs.

    ellen, i think you are really onto something. we all want to be validated for who we are. who says they have to validate me first, lol. someone once said that all the conflicts in the world, small and large, stem from someone being made to feel somehow not worthy. makes sense to me.

    Candice, i won't let them win. Things are better than they used to be actually.

    Glenn, you remind me of one of my favorite lessons, which is that we should treat everyone we encounter as if it were their last day on earth. I fail miserably with some people, but maybe I can try harder! Maybe.

    Ms Moon, i sure don't know. but i'm starting to see that it can be fruitless to allow people who don't really have a role in my life to affect me so. i'm going to think about that some more...

    Susan T., I am going to try this. I really am. Will let you know how it goes.

    Mel, sometimes the line between hurt and furious is like a thread of gossamer. thanks for reminding me.

    Rebecca, tee hee hee. We get our christmas cheer wherever we find it!

    Gary, it does seem that i am focusing on the negative to the exclusion of what is good. in fact, there are many people around me at work who are good and kind and funny and hardworking and who i simply adore. i guess i never need to "process" them so I don't write about them, but they are there, and i am happy for them. nice to see you.

  11. Been there! I once had a coworker who advised taking a walk around the block when I had those about-to-explode moments. It really works!