I awoke to an email thread I didn’t like. Several people I didn’t know had been added to a thread that was originally between me and one other person. The topic was benign, so I won’t bore you with it.
While the thread was still between me and one other person, I wrote that I had provided some requested information earlier in the email exchange. After the others were included, one of the discussion’s newcomers chimed in with a “reply to all” stating that I actually had not provided the info. I realize it’s impossible to read emotions and vocal inflections into email messages, but the writer’s use of carefully placed quotations marks led me to believe she was in a prickly mood.
I re-read the entire thread and sure enough, there it was just as plain as day…the info I “claimed” to have provided. I know this little drama sounds silly, but it pushed my buttons. It was simply too early in the morning and I didn’t like feeling accused of not doing something I clearly had done.
I typed a reply, cutting and pasting the aforementioned information into the top of the thread. I was sure my response would clear my good name and all of humanity would realize I was a competent individual. And then I remembered…
Just a few weeks ago I recommended don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements to participants of a group coaching class I’d facilitated. By doing so I inspired myself to reread the book.
One of the agreements is “don’t take anything personally.” With that in mind I reread my email response. While it was technically correct, it looked childish and petty. What did I have to gain by proving this woman wrong…this woman I’d never met before? I risked embarrassing her in front of everyone else on the thread, including those I’d never met. And I risked looking like a jerk. No, thank you.
I erased my original response and retyped. I added the requested information as if it were the first time I’d typed it. I hit the send button and felt emotionally clean. I also felt gratitude that God gave me the strength extend grace when doing so wasn’t my first thought.
In that moment I decided I’d rather be happy than right. Sometimes I have to just let it go.