If someone at work emails me, I email them back. Even if it is just to say “thanks”, “got it” or “ok”. If someone enters into conversation with me, I normally respond back, as it would be rude not to!
But I am finding that life is just much more peaceful if you learn that sometimes it is okay not to engage.
I work with a man who is a self-proclaimed narcissist. He does not like to lose an argument, and refuses to back down, pushing you until either he – or you – say something that you regret. A few weeks ago he pushed me so hard that I literally left the building shaking in anger.
When I came back, he made a bee line for my office and apologized, he looked like he was going to cry. That was when I realized, he really does not want to anger me, he just does not know how to stop.
But I do.
So I will do it for him, because deep down, I know that he is a softy. I know it because he goes to church, reads books on spirituality, and his niece has him wrapped around her little finger. I know it because even though he has filed for divorce, he refuses to take off his wedding ring, stating that it is because he is still married.
So this week when he jokingly insulted me, I bit my tongue and said nothing. Later when he said something crude, I just walked away without a response. (So what if I was muttering prayers in Spanish under my breath). It worked! Hmmm…maybe there is something to this?
I work with a woman who feels the need to exchange 10-15 emails when 1-2 would have sufficed. This literally makes me crazy!
So this time, I did not reply back. Instead I made the trek to her office to talk through the issues. I decided I would rather “lose 15 minutes” but remain in peace, then to be left reeling with the feeling that I was banging my head against a brick wall.
Last week a stranger came to our house, he started asking what year our house was built, our names, phone numbers…that was when I shut the door. Just because you ask me for that information does not mean I need to provide it to you.
It’s been a slow learning process for me. It takes all my will-power to NOT engage, because it’s the opposite of who I am. But I am learning that sometimes, it is just better if you realize that you do not have to engage.
It’s actually somewhat freeing.
Hmmm…that gives me PEACE.
“Seek peace and pursue it” Psalm 34:14b