by Dr Marianne Trent of Good Thinking Psychological Services
I bought a new laptop recently because I recognised that my old laptop was starting to hold me back from the things I wanted to do in my business. It arrived, it was great, it did the whizzy things I needed it to do. Except there was one thing which didn’t seem to work. Initially I thought perhaps jumping from box to box perhaps wasn’t supported on the web forms I was trying to complete. But then I started trying to use it on Word and Excel – where the tab key definitely should have worked – and it definitely didn’t. I made a mental note to call HP as soon as they were next open again – reduced hours due to COVID-19 don’t you know. The thing is that tab keys are not exciting, and they’re not used very often and so it kept slipping my mind. How often have you ever thought about your tab key? I can say that to me the answer is never. Until I needed to use it and couldn’t. So, to cut a rambling story short, my laptop had to go back to HP to be repaired. It couldn’t be replaced. Apparently that’s not an option. Turned out I’d be without it for up to 14 days. Not ideal when running a business.
“What are you going to do?” asked my husband.
“I guess I’ll just have to use my old one until it’s back. It’s not ideal but I don’t really have any other options.”
“Well, I’d be so annoyed if I was you!”
I reflected on this and wondered why I wasn’t. For me it comes down to compassion. Is it my fault that the tab key doesn’t work? Nope. Is it the fault of the lady I spoke to at HP? Unlikely. Is it someone’s fault. Yes, probably. Did they mean to send out a laptop with a duff ‘Tab’ key? Unlikely. Will this come back to them as a quality check issue? Probably. Will this still matter to me in a month? Hopefully not. So what’s the point of me being full of rage and resentment and bitterness? Who would that serve? Certainly not me. I can accept that this wasn’t my fault and that I didn’t want this to happen and that it’s really quite likely that no one at HP wanted this to happen to me. I can accept that one of the quirks of technology is that sometimes things don’t work. Sometimes things are unreliable and can’t always be relied upon.
What do you think? How could this compassionate stance help you to re-frame situations of anger and disappointment?