I was in a hurry and distracted when I picked up the prints of my “Forest Angel.” They seemed a bit darker than the last ones, but I went ahead and paid for them and headed out the door for the next errand. When I got home and compared the prints to the proof, I realized they were much darker. I didn’t think I could even use them.
For the next couple of weeks, I debated whether I should go back and see if they could re-do the prints. Part of me wanted to just go somewhere else and get new prints to avoid potential conflict. But part of me said I should at least offer feedback and the opportunity to correct the problem. Being busy with other projects, I kept putting the print issue off.
Then, last week, I decided it was worth a try. I rehearsed several conversations. Most of my rehearsals portrayed me being assertively diplomatic, while some scenarios led to snarkiness on my part when I imagined being denied new prints at no charge. I even went so far as to imagine a worst case scenario of the manager implying I was stupid for paying for the prints if I wasn’t satisfied and that I should have looked at them more closely. (This was really my own self-criticism.) I became indignant and threatened to tell all my friends. I think I spent about two seconds imaging a good outcome. All this went on in my head before I even got in the car to go to the place where I get my prints. Talk about making mountains our of molehills.
On the way there, I observed that I felt nervous, almost afraid.
“Stop it!” I told myself. “This is ridiculous! What’s wrong with you? You know how to be assertive. This is just an exercise in assertiveness.”
When I got to my destination, I showed the manager the prints and how much darker they were than the proof. I explained that I’d been busy and distracted when I’d picked them up a couple weeks earlier.
“Okay, leave them here with the proof and I’ll talk to the printer. He’s not here right now, and he’s really busy.”
The whole interaction took less than 2 minutes. No debating, no snarkiness.
How many times I’ve worried needlessly over imagined conflict. Having a history of being a pushover, I don’t want to be taken advantage of and tend to over-rehearse standing up for myself. But most of my imagined conflicts never happen. Who needs that extra drama?
I picked up the prints last week with no fuss, no extra charge, and a big thank you from me, feeling secretly sheepish for all that imagined conflict.
I do think I’m getting better at catching myself, but sometimes I still need reminders to let go, have faith, and stay in the moment. Hopefully I’m learning this lesson at a deeper level.
Here’s my “Forest Angel” reminding me to let go.
What helps you let go of imagined conflict?