What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business…

This is one of those recovery-based sayings that I frequently use to move past something that is bothering me (my other favorite is “Let go or be dragged”), and quite often just remembering the phrase diffuses a situation for me. Not always.

As I was leaving the office last Friday I checked in with a former boss (he has moved from being someone I directly support to becoming part of our group’s management team — so he’s still technically my boss, but not my direct report, and not someone I do work for). I just wanted to make sure he didn’t need anything before another assistant and I left for the weekend. I didn’t have to do this; I chose to. We were having a nice little conversation when he decided to pass on to me a report that he had heard from my direct supervisor. Apparently my partner thinks I “don’t love” her anymore.

(Big breath. I’m trying so hard not to get judgey and falling on my face) My partner is awesome at her job. She’ll bird-dog any task, wants to do well, is very organized, and is just relentless is taking care of stuff. I am grateful every day to have her sitting in that chair — because she does what she does so well, I am free to focus on what I do.

Let’s just say there are some personality conflicts. I don’t want to get into specifics because I know that I am responsible for how I respond to things that frustrate me. It doesn’t matter what she does or says that bothers me, I should be able to accept her as she is. It’s what I would want of someone else if I was unconsciously annoying to them.

ShushWhere I get tripped up is that there can be no real purpose to making the statement to our supervisor that she made (or likely not that specific statement, but something to the effect of “She isn’t nice to me”) other than to make me look bad.

Going by the title of this post, everyone should be free to think however ill of me they wish. It’s none of my business.

But isn’t it SO my business when my job might be affected? Why didn’t she come to me directly if she was feeling hurt? Why goes straight to the person who reviews me? Why not, as I’ve been doing for the last several months, just stuff it down and take it like a normal person??? AM I RIGHT???

…yeah, no. Just kidding on that last bit, of course. I’m keen to jump to the conclusion that she has some ulterior motive but that is likely just my paranoia kicking in. I was laying awake mulling this over at four o’clock in the morning and I decided I would just take her in a conference room and tell her what the Big Boss said, apologize for hurting her feelings, and ask her to please come to me directly next time before talking to a supervisor.

Then when I was still laying awake at five o’clock in the morning I came around to the opinion that what I really need to do is just focus on being kinder and more accepting. And if, in a moment, I find myself wanting to get pissy or ignore her, to breathe, be patient, and remember that what think of me is absolutely my business, and I’m not proud to have a partner who feels so neglected and hurt by my attitude that she has to complain about me to her supervisor. That’s not cool. It’s my ego that says she’s wrong and spiteful, and I really need to let that crap go. I’m not better than her, and when I start rolling my eyes at something she says or does, it’s way more of a reflection on me than on her. If I were watching that scene I’d probably want to smack myself.

So. One day at a time, I’m just going to do the next right thing, and at the very least, start to get back on good terms with me again. Hopefully, the rest will follow.

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