‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.’
The above quote (origin unknown) came as part of an email I received this morning and it really spoke to me.
While it would be wonderful if we could simply change everything about our lives that causes us grief and concern, in truth there are many things we just have to learn live with. And how else can we do that unless we are able to change the way we think about those things?
I’m what you might call a ‘sensitive’ person. In other words I tend to take things personally and be easily hurt.
Back in my early days as a cleaner I found it very difficult to cope with those inevitable complaints and criticisms. When some one complained, I took it very hard. I would seesaw between anger and depression. How dare they infer that I wasn’t doing my job properly? What if I lose my job now? Oh what a sorry specimen I must be – that I can’t even manage to do the most menial of jobs to a satisfactory standard?
But, eventually I learned that some things never change. No matter how hard you work, no matter how hard you try, there will always be people whom you simply cannot please. And ‘clean’ is a concept very open to personal interpretation.
People often expect way too much of us humble cleaners anyhow. They ask you to mop a floor and expect it to come up as though it had been stripped and resealed. They expect a white-glove clean for a whisk-with-a-feather-duster price.
So if I intended to continue as a cleaner, then I would have to learn to deal with complaints and criticisms or I was going to spend the rest of my days in this turmoil of depression.
Then a friend pointed out to me that cleaning is my job – it is not who I am and it is not all there is to my life. A complaint or criticism about anything I do is, after all, one person’s opinion and not necessarily the truth. That same friend advised that I should always listen to what is said to me; take what I feel is useful and constructive, and throw the rest in the garbage.
Am I now totally unaffected by criticisms and complaints? Oh, far from it. But at least I have learned to differentiate between a criticism of my work and a reflection of my worth as a person.
©Lyn Murphy 2011