April Jeppson: Stop beating yourself up for past actions

Published 8:45 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

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Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I’ve worked customer-facing jobs my entire life. I am familiar with the mostly pleasurable experience that comes from working with people. As an extrovert, I love seeing and talking with people daily. On the flip side, nothing is more draining than working with someone who is mean-spirited.

April Jeppson

There was a minor situation at work today that required a staff member to give an unpleasant update to a customer. Like I said, it was minor, and ultimately it created a 10-minute inconvenience for this person. No one was harmed and after 10 minutes, life went on as normal.

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However, the way in which this customer responded, you would have thought we insulted their mother. My employee stayed positive, did the best they could and within a short period of time, all was well. Or so I thought.

As I was talking to them about an hour later, I could see that they weren’t their normal upbeat self. When I inquired, they mentioned the earlier incident. They were replaying it over and over and trying to figure out what they could have said to make the customer happy. They genuinely felt like they had let that customer down, and in turn, they were responsible for the exaggerated response that followed.

I then explained to the employee what I had seen transpire. I reiterated how impressed I was with their ability to stay cool under pressure. They didn’t seem to buy it and brought up the fact that they obviously messed up because they were yelled at. Saddened by their inability to see the truth, I told them how I handle situations like that.

When people are oddly rude to me I figure they must be tired, hungry or stressed. If I have been nice to them and their actions toward me are not, I realize that there must be something else going on. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter what their excuse is, only that I do not take it personally.

You know how much I love my quotes. Well I read something insightful the other day and for the life of me, I cannot locate it. So my apologies in advance if I butcher it.

If someone threw a rock at you, you wouldn’t pick it up and repeatedly hit yourself with it. So, why, when someone says something hurtful or mean, do we play it over and over again in our minds?

As a happy person who wants others to be happy as well, I try my best not to be rude to others, so when it happens to me, I’m left confused and frustrated. Seeing the situation played out in someone else’s life painted a very clear picture for me. Recently I’ve been picking up those rocks and needlessly hitting myself with them. I need to practice what I preach and stop beating myself up.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.