I learned an enormous lesson this week.
Wait — that’s not quite right.
In reality, I had an opportunity to experience a sequence of events which provided me with a chance to deploy effective tactics to deal with adversity. I did not employ those tactics. A corporate entity which does not depend on me or people like me for its existence prevailed in a battle with me. I have been put to considerable inconvenience and even expense in wrangling the resultant quagmire. I did nothing wrong, and the machinations of the corporation involved had actually injured my interests. But because I got upset, the humans working for that corporation closed their faces and wielded its power to stymie my efforts to protect myself.
Granted: When the incident occurred, I stood to lose actual money. I also had just stumbled in the parking lot of the business in question, and my chest pounded from the pain of an asthma attack triggered by a combination of muggy weather and stress related to the incident. But then the first person whom I encountered at the business laughed at me, and told me that he was laughing because — and I quote — he could not believe I was upset. And he laughed while he said it. Laughed.
I could have backed away, calmed down, waited until I got control of my emotions before responding. Maybe I could have manipulated the situation to good ends. I did none of that; instead, I got more upset, I called him out, and I demanded access to his supervisors. The entire situation snowballed beyond the fact that I originally was the actual victim of their corporate failings, focusing instead on my agitation, with which they had no desire to deal.
No, I did not get arrested, banned from the premises, or anything like that. Most of my complaining took place later, on the telephone. Harsh, strong, but not profane; however, in the final analysis, I now have had to file an official complaint. I took my business elsewhere to considerable inconvenience for myself.
Could nonviolent communication have engendered a different outcome? I am not sure. They had taken their unreasonable stand about the actual incident before I got upset, so possibly not. Had I used NVC, I would have had a better day — that is one-hundred percent certain. I did try to remain calm but failed. I did try to use diplomacy but they had no regard for me. Someone who helped me deal with the situation held out the opinion that the business in question treats everyone the way I was treated. Possibly. Still, I think had I remained calm, though the outcome might have been the same, the experience might have been easier on me.
In setting up my business elsewhere, I met a marvelous customer service agent three years younger than my son who handled the establishment of my account with grace and style. I appreciated his warmth and professionalism. I actually prefer the new company, and had been considering switching even before this horrible affair.
I got through the day, embarking on a path to control any fallout. I meditated my way to calm. The value added to my life by this experience cannot be understated. Some days I easily traverse my path. Some days I stumble. Some days my actions make a difference. Some days, what I do cannot change anything other than how well I sleep when I finally get through a difficult serious of events. I had both kinds of days this week, in wild extremes that emphasize the roller-coaster life which I have led.
For the last two and a half years, I’ve tried to orchestrate my emotional reactions to avoid the bumpy ride. I thought I had made progress. Maybe. Maybe not.
It’s the fourteenth day of the thirty-second month of My [Endless] Year [Trying To Live] Without Complaining. I’m still here. Still trying. Life continues.