Sunday, January 30, 2011

To Right a Wrong

For several months now, since this blog's inception, I've been urging people to send in questions or issues on which they'd appreciate a fresh perspective. In all that time, I have received one email to that effect. This week, though, another woman has dared to reach out for assistance. She has chosen to gain responses from both my alter ego and me. She's a brave woman to say the least. Like the previous inquirer, she wishes to remain anonymous. Let's hear what she has to say.

Okay, here's the deal. At my job, there was a rumor going around that one of the married women in my department (Mrs. K) was slipping down to the mail room and having noontime quickies with a guy down there. Now, I don't really like Mrs. K--she's the kind of person who is always talking about her new this or that. I can barely afford to put gas in the car. So, like everybody else I started whispering when she disappeared at lunch time.

Last week, I just happened to be in the mail room when she came down with her lunch. I hovered around to see which guy she would disappear with... Well, they didn't disappear. Her and the dude who wears eyeliner (Mr. E) were watching Ellen on a portable tv. 

So, now I feel like an ass, and I'm not sure what to do. Mrs. K notices that people are acting funny around her, but I don't think she knows why. I don't want to point out the obvious (Mr. E doesn't seem to be interested in women) because that's an HR violation. 

What should I do?

I find that most of the time when someone asks my advice about a wrongdoing they've committed, they already know what to do and they're looking for my permission not to do it. In other words, they want the culpability removed from them. No one can blame them for doing something different because I told them it was okay. Don't blame me; blame Mrs. Hyde.

I'm not going to let you off the hook that easily. Sorry if that's what you anticipated happening. You were wrong. Own up to it and rectify it if you can. You know exactly what needs to be done, so I'm not going to spend one second, and neither should you, pretending otherwise.

What I would like to discuss is why you felt the need to whisper behind her back and spread (untrue) rumors about her. I don't buy that you did it just because you don't like her. I have met many people in my lifetime whom I disliked, but that doesn't mean it's okay for me to gossip and spread lies about them. Let's look at the story behind your dislike.

You stated that you don't like her because she flaunts her success in your face. How does she do that exactly? Does she do it by wearing designer clothes? Does she do it by driving an expensive car? Does she have a big house? You said that she is "always talking about her new this or that." That leads me to the conclusion that you, by contrast, are not proud when you are able to afford nice things. Otherwise, you wouldn't begrudge her her pride. Let me first offer that there are plenty of poor people who wear designer clothing, drive cars that cost more monthly than their rent, and live in big houses that are one paycheck away from foreclosure. If you are not one of these people because you live within your means, give yourself a pat on the back. You're a rare breed in our country.

But let's cut the bull, if you don't mind, and be honest about the real reason why you dislike Mrs. K: she is everything that you aspire to be. I would even take it a step further and say that you feel like, at this point in your life, you should be exactly where she is right now. You're upset that while life presented many obstacles that either hurled you completely off your path or stymied your forward progression, Mrs. K seems to have fared just fine. Why was she allowed to succeed and you were not? It's an old story, really. Poor(er) people tend to have a disdain for rich(er) people, simply because the rich have money and the poor don't. I hear you grumbling, but you and I both know it's true.

While you, clearly, have chosen this woman onto whom to project your frustrations, the person you're really upset with is you. You are in charge of your own destiny. You are where you are today due to a series of choices that you have made. That doesn't make you a failure. It makes you human. Sometimes humans make the wrong choices. Sometimes those choices can be reversed, we can change our minds and go in a different direction. Other times, the choice yields a result that we are stuck with; there's no turning back. Still other times, we believe that a choice is the wrong one, when, in fact, it couldn't be more right.

Let's say that you loved writing as a young girl. You'd initially had dreams of being a writer/poet/actress, but the older and more mature you got and the more you were told that those dreams were unrealistic, the more you leaned toward a career in healing. You wanted to be a pediatrician which became a psychiatrist which became a psychologist because you, eventually, decided that you wanted to find out why people did the things they did. If one day you choose to have unprotected sex, it may result in a pregnancy that may prevent you from finishing college. Once you give birth to the baby, you could go back to college, but you choose instead to get married and stay home with your baby. When the baby is no longer in preschool, you could finish school, but you choose instead to get a job. In fact, you seem to hop from job to job to job because none of them are satisfying enough to a woman with your potential. Years go by and you're so far removed from college that you think it's just pointless to return. Besides, you've had two more babies since, and it's unfathomable that you'll have the time, let alone the money for school. You continue alternating between job hopping and stay-at-home mothering until you look up one day and all of your children are school aged. You're a stay-at-home mom who's at home all by herself. You think about finally getting a 'real' job because, truth is, your children don't need you nearly as much as you think they do. But who will hire a college drop-out who hasn't had a steady job in sixteen years?

You may feel bad that your life took a detour, but it's all about perspective. It's how you perceive your life that makes it worthwhile or not. You may look at the above described life and see wasted potential and failure. When I look at that same life, my life, I see a glaring success. I have an awesome relationship with my husband. It wasn't easy to achieve, but we did it, and not a lot of people can claim that. My children are happy and healthy and thriving. Of course that wasn't easy either, and again, there are people for whom this isn't true. As for my own personal dreams...well, one day I discovered a novel writing contest which stirred in me a desire to write again. Writing that novel made me remember my original passion for the art itself. Years later, while in a bookstore, I discovered something that renewed my desire to heal and now I am studying the healing arts. You see, my life has come full circle. I'm both a writer and (soon) a healer.

There are no accidents. You may have been thrown off your path because that was not the path you really wanted to take. Maybe the skills and knowledge you acquired on your detour were meant to serve you once you had come to the point in your life where your dreams really could be realized. I believe, and this is just my humble opinion, that if you focused more on being grateful for what you have now, that you could have everything you could ever possibly want.

Instead of being jealous of Mrs. K, be happy for her accomplishments. Instead of beating yourself up for not having met past goals, trust yourself enough to realize that you can have anything you want. You can have everything you need, but all of those things will elude you until you do one thing: believe. In yourself, in your ability, in your potential, in your worthiness, in your God.

Stop wasting precious time being angry about the success of others and spend more time focusing on what you want out of life. Take some time and really think about what it is that you want.

You may find that it's not what you thought it was.

Until next week,
Feed on love, subsist on peace.

***If you have additional words of encouragement for our inquirer, please add them in the comments after this post.


  1. Absolutely totally agree with your assessment and response. Nothing more to add.


  2. wise words per regrets, just life...and all choices have consequences, good or not so good...

    Bruce Johnson JADIP
    Evil Twin
    stupid stuff I see and hear
    The Dreamodeling Guy
    The Guy Book
    The Guy Book

  3. Lovely, true and said with compassion. Let's hope she takes this to heart and makes some necessary adjustments when it comes to her approach to life and the treatment of others.

  4. @PM- Thanks. I hoped I didn't come off as 'high and mighty.'

    @Bruce- Exactly. If we just keep in mind that there are, indeed, consequences for our actions, I think we'd all be a little more understanding to the plights of others.

    @Empress- I'm sure she will. I believe that's why she reached out. She felt that something needed to change.

  5. I liked this answer too. Very insightful. But you know the version I like best!

  6. Very insightful. We all have to take responsibility for our own lives and make the appropriate course corrections for us.

    Bravo, Mrs. Hyde for getting yourself back on track.


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