When I opened the door, she greeted me with “Do you want to know what happened to me today?”
I was too polite to say no, and her tone suggested it didn’t really matter anyway.
She was determined to tell me:
“I got up early – it was still dark and I looked out the window. There was something on my front curb that I didn’t recognize. So I trudged downstairs and put my coat and boots on and went out to take a look. It was a bunch of empty boxes sitting on my curb.
Today is recycling day and where I live you have to put the cardboard in a special recycling can. I could get a ticket because those boxes were left on my curb. It made me mad that someone would do that to me.
Turns out that person was not only a jerk, he was also stupid. He left shipping labels on the outside of the boxes. I don’t know who he is, but now I have his name, and his address is right down the street. I’m going to track him down and give him a piece of my mind. Or maybe I’ll just haul all the boxes back and dump them in his front yard to see how he likes it.”
And just like that, in a matter of sixty seconds she had easily violated all four agreements. Perhaps she’s never read The Four Agreements, a small (but mighty) book by Don Miguel Ruiz. Maybe it would change her life like it did mine:
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
Just repeating the story violated the first agreement (I suppose, by writing this, I, too, am violating the first agreement, but I’m using these words for illustrative purposes…)
Being impeccable with your word means no gossiping (among other things). After reading this book, I was aware of how many times the conversation turned to gossip when I was in a group. I started to just excuse myself and I realized over time how it shifted and the gossip stopped.
When she believed the boxes were dumped on HER curb (instead of just randomly), she violated agreements two and three. Since she didn’t see the person do it and because she didn’t recognize the name on the shipping label, she actually didn’t know the (alleged) perpetrator. It was a big leap to assume he knew her and did it to her.
Marching down the street and giving him a piece of her mind and/or hauling the boxes back and dumping them in front of his house completed the violation of the fourth agreement. Retaliation never qualifies as your best. It would just sink her to his level.
What would you do? Just suck it up and put the boxes in your recycling can? Would you seek him out? What would you say? I’d love to know below.