Our social media feeds are full of them and as I life coach I create my own quote memes multiple times a week. And while I pick each quote carefully, there really are so many to be found in any IG scroll that these little truth bombs start to run together; undermining each individual one’s impact.
But a great reminder of the power of words happened this week after I posted this quote:
I loved the quote when I stole reposted it (with attribution) from another IG feed (@kindnessmatters). I did it because the words so perfectly connected to a core principle of Fearless Living—the coaching work I do.
Basically, when people are unkind, 9 times out of ten, it has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with them and the fear-based place they are coming from. So taking things personally—which in my life I have (at times) been very adept at thank you very much—is like drinking a poison that’s meant for someone else.
Here’s the quick story of how it connected this past week.
I rescue dogs. I work with an amazing group here in Los Angeles Wags & Walks, The ASPCA and because of my incredible Labrador, Ranger, I have become a Labrador devotee working with a lab rescue in Arkansas.
A few times a year, I transport of dogs from the nonprofit in Arkansas which is overrun with Labradors and I bring them to people here in California to homes who would otherwise end up waiting months even years to find a purebred Labrador for adoption.
I fund the transports on money I raise from my network of dog loving fees and the adoption fees for some of the dogs on the transport.
Last year I had connected with a woman who wanted a yellow lab. I had a beautiful one for her and in the process we became friendly. She couldn’t commit to the dog before meeting it which I understood. So she agreed to donate $600 dollars towards the cost of the transport, then pay the last $300 if she decided if to adopt the dog.
As the dogs were about to leave on the transport she backed out of adopting the dog for personal reasons, but to her credit, she kept her commitment to pay the $600. I was impressed.
Months passed and I had another transport of beautiful labs (yellow ones, the kind she liked). So, I reached out to see if she was in the market yet. She was interested and she graciously offered to help with the transport whether she got a dog or not.
I went to pick up a check from her on Monday and I asked to have her make the check to me. As I usually do because of the difficulty of managing all the elements of the transport. Truck rental, Gas, driver etc.; it makes it easier for everyone if the money is one central location- with me.
She said I’d prefer to write to a Non- Profit, which I understand 100% so I had her write it to the Labrador Rescue in Arkansas.
Great. End of story…or so I thought.
Tuesday night she sent me a HATE-filled email the details of which are unimportant. But suffice it to say she hurled some nasty accusations my way.
I was hurt and upset. But then something miraculous happened. After the initial shock of being upset someone could think badly of me like this—a trigger for me–I kind of didn’t give a shit. And here is where the really cool part comes in.
I realized didn’t care because I was doing everything in alignment with my values. I knew I working my ass off to rescue these14 dogs who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance in the world. I knew where every penny would be going, and I knew I was willing to take on the financial commitment of the transport even if it meant money out of my pocket because saving dogs’ lives is core to my being.
And most of all I knew that every step I took in the process of saving these dogs was dictated by a rock-solid moral compass; guided by the value I place on being fair and honest.
So while initially, I 100% wanted to send her an email telling her what a CU Next Tuesday I thought she was, I sent back a level-headed email calmly communicating my hurt feelings and showing her the destroyed check.
Did I want to send that FU email?
Would that have accomplished anything?
Would she have heard me?
Did I need to be kind to her when she was unkind to me?
Oh wait I knew I had heard that somewhere before…right…Instagram!
The quote memes come full circle
So, my sort of throw away quote memes post from IG ended up being the anchor for what I needed to keep me centered and living the value-based life I aim to live each and every day.
And guess what?
She wrote back. She 180’d on her accusations and almost said she was sorry. Almost.
Maybe she really didn’t mean to be so unkind. Or maybe she did. The best news is that it didn’t matter.
I’m not sure what will happen; time will tell if we can continue to build a friendship and if she truly wants to support the work.
But either way I feel good having ripped up the check. My instinct told me if I was ever to have a clean relationship with her and feel at peace about the finances of this transport; this money was not going to help.
So, based on another great quote…
The mistake and the success will have been all mine and that’s just as it should be.
So, when you see my meme quotes…take a minute and really look at them. They may just change your whole day.