“I’m sorry, but you have to put on your shoes here, sweetie.”
The request from the woman at my school was simple enough. However, the fact that she touched me on the shoulder unexpectedly while I was speaking to a friend and standing so near while looking straight into my eyes upset me. Silly, I know. Yet, my automatic response was panic. Instead of staying like a rational adult and just putting on my shoes, I stormed away in search of a safe place to hide in shame.
My first response was to never speak to that woman again, never go to that part of campus, never wear those shoes, never put myself in any type of situation similar to that. After sitting for about 15 minutes, I calmed down enough to think rationally. Maybe this interaction was not the end of the world. Sure, my reaction had been childish, but that did not need to dictate the rest of my last month at school.
Sometimes, we need to take some time away from a situation in order to come to a better state of mind. Changing your way of viewing of a person, event, or anything else does not happen right away. Instead, it can take anywhere from five minutes to several months. Sometimes, the time can even be years that we need to adjust to a change.
Using this coping skill takes a great deal patience at times. Still, the waiting is worth it if you come out feeling ready to face the situation with an altered attitude or perspective. Simply be gracious with yourself; we all need differing amounts of times depending on the situation and our temperament. Try not to compare yourself to others or be impatient with yourself. We all are unique in how we react to changes.
So, I might have overacted, but the important thing to remember is that I recovered rather well. Less than an hour later, I was back to get some food from the same lady. That interaction might have started as a failure, but it ended up being a success because of the coping skill that I used.