Stop Letting OPS Mess with Your Head!
Living your best life after 50 (or really any age) includes keeping a healthy separation between your emotions and other people’s drama.
What I learned this last weekend comes down to this:
Their sh*t ain’t my sh*t!
It’s a lesson in learning how to hear and digest hateful angry words and being able to let it go and find a healthy perspective.
Admittedly, it took me a few days to work through this.
Ultimately, I needed to consciously recognize that the situation was a reflection of other people’s drama – aka other people’s sh*t (OPS), their reality and their perspective – not mine.
We can not internalize OPS.
If we do, we risk OPS screwing up all the positivity and goodness we are working so hard to manifest in our own lives.
So here’s the sitch:
I was sitting on the sidelines at a high school level sporting event last weekend. I was perched in my lawn chair amongst many other parents, some I knew, some I didn’t. We were all freezing our butts off in the frigid November wind.
All of us, I assume, were happy to be present to watch our teenagers play.
Several moments during the final game were tense. At one point, a bit of after-the-whistle pushing started and a punch was thrown. Two kids were immediately pulled out of the game and both were given a penalty. That’s what referees are there for. There should be no tolerance for unsportsmanlike behavior, doesn’t matter who started it or why it happened – it is unacceptable.
That was bad enough, but here’s where OPS enters and it really gets ugly.
A woman seated near me loudly made a nasty comment about the kids involved. Other parents chimed in shouting nasty and shockingly aggressive taunts at each other. It felt horrible to be sitting there.
I was mostly disturbed because their comments were so hateful and seemed to come from such a deep level of anger.
The speed with which several in the group of parents went from being a bunch of happy (but freezing) parents sharing the same moment to arch enemies figuratively drawing out swords was frightening!
They were behaving as badly as the kids in the game. Maybe worse since they are adults and are supposed to be setting an example.
All that was missing was the physical pushing.
It felt to me that the scene was one comment away from escalating into a sideline parent fistfight.
Thankfully the on-going game seemed to take the attention away from the overheated sideline situation and the focus of any remaining parent yelling returned toward the kids – good shot, nice save!
I remained silent.
My cheeks were flushed and hot with shock over what I had witnessed. I could not stop thinking about this altercation for the rest of the day.
And the entire two-hour drive home and well into the next two days. The viciousness with which words and insults were so quickly thrown continued to play in my head and it festered – messing up my otherwise mostly positive mojo.
Reflecting and replaying those moments in my head, trying to figure out why on earth parents would speak to each other that way – finally led me to realize how I was trying to digest and resolve their anger.
Wait a minute! That’s OPS!
It wasn’t and isn’t my anger.
Their overreaction and choice to be vicious has nothing to do with me.
That behavior was on them. That was their sh*t show.
They chose to allow their underlying stuff – maybe misplaced anger, or feelings of frustration, righteousness, defensiveness, powerlessness – to come rushing out of their mouth in the form of aggressive, mean taunts.
I heard a discussion a few weeks ago that stuck with me and I realized today how perfectly it applies to this situation (I would credit the person who said this but I can’t remember where I heard it).
Imagine you are watching a show on tv that you enjoy. You wouldn’t hand over the remote control to someone else knowing they might change the channel, right? Yet, we often put the control buttons to how we feel in someone else’s hand. Giving them the opportunity to change our channel.
I’m consciously choosing to (finally) let this case of OPS go.
“The only person you can control is you. You get to decide how much you’re going to let this person’s behavior impact you.” – Denise Ryan, motivational speaker
I want to live my best life and I know you do too.
That means dealing with our own stuff when we need to, and recognizing when we’re letting OPS get in our heads and drag us down.
Freedom of speech. YES.
Handing over our emotional control buttons to others. NOPE.
Today I’m wishing all of us the ability to see OPS for what it is and to keep it a healthy distance from our own stuff so we can continue to find joy and live our best life after 50!
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