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Taking it the Right Way. Wednesday May 18, 2016

I spent my weekend in the garden.

Now, what did you think as you read those words? Did you imagine I spent a couple of long lazy days, lying in a hammock, frosty glass of wine to hand, reading a good book? Or maybe you saw me tenderly transplanting seedling flowers and vegetables, my hands patting down warm earth around fragile roots.

The reality was rather different.

Having been ill (in the down part of my cycle) from September to Christmas, and off my feet entirely from mid-February until just last week, my garden resembled a jungle. In places I needed a machete!

Now, unlike my friend from the Deep South of Georgia, USA, I did not come face to face with an alligator while weeding, but those lush and rampant weeds could have hidden anything! I felt like Livingstone hacking my way through the African Rainforest; very adventurous!

And this morning my neck, shoulders and back were insisting that I pay heavily for that adventure.

I popped a couple of ibuprofen and reached for the Deep Heat Rub, idly reading the packaging as I did so. "Do not apply to sensitive areas such as your eyes," it said. Oh yes - this stuff hurts as badly as raw chillies. "Do not apply to broken skin. Do not take by mouth."

Well – duh! Just the idea had me wincing.

And then I thought of something else.

Last week a business contact of mine sent round an email that offended a few people. She meant what she said to be helpful, but some took it the wrong way. Last night I had to make a difficult phone call. What I had to say could certainly have been taken the wrong way: as interfering; as gossip; as sheer malice, when I meant to be caring. That was one reason I choose to phone rather than email: it's easier to misinterpret an email or text. I didn't want what I had to say to be misinterpreted.

We all know people who seem to take a positive delight in being offended. While I hope none of us are in that number, in this community we tend to be a little more sensitive and thin-skinned than some. Maybe we can be offended or hurt through robust comments. Even when those comments are made with positive intent.

Before we react, let's just look at what was really meant, rather than what was said and what we made it mean.

We need to metaphorically read the label. There are people with hearts of gold who are incapable of tact. We need to apply their words to the places we need a brisk rub, but not to any delicate areas. Sometimes we need to ignore their words, because our skin is broken and because we cannot swallow them just then.

After all, Deep Heat is excellent treating the pain of the adventurous, but not when used orally.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Zareen Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 6:53am

Hi Mary
Thanks for your gentle reminder. I know that sometimes I can be very touchy & appear to be very sensitive. However, I am learning to direct my sensitivity towards others which becomes a strength & not a weakness.

Hope that your muscles soon feel lots better

Zareen Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 6:54am

Hi Mary
Thanks for your gentle reminder. I know that sometimes I can be very touchy & appear to be very sensitive. However, I am learning to direct my sensitivity towards others which becomes a strength & not a weakness.

Hope that your muscles soon feel lots better

Zareen Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 6:54am

Hi Mary
Thanks for your gentle reminder. I know that sometimes I can be very touchy & appear to be very sensitive. However, I am learning to direct my sensitivity towards others which becomes a strength & not a weakness.

Hope that your muscles soon feel lots better

Sally Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 8:22am

Very interesting post, Mary. One to keep, in fact.
I loved the imageryof the ibuprofen .
Emailing can indeed be fraught with danger, even destroy relationships, when what is said is misinterpreted! I always prefer face to face, or telephone for that reason.
Thank you so much, Mary. Go well.

Tutti Frutti Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 8:30am

Hi Mary

Thanks for abother interesting blog. I liked your description of "those with hearts of gold who are incapable of tact". A very accurate description of my husband! As I am of course thin skinned this can make for difficulties sometimes. I probably get more (brief) upsets to my equilibrium from him than from anyone else and often he doesn't even notice he has upset me.

One area that I have learnt just to accept and to allow to float off me over the years though, is that we always bicker when packing to go on holiday. I now just expect it and remember that it will all be fine by the time we get on the plane.

Any advice on how to avoid letting other abrupt remarks get to me gratefully received though - particularly as I think the level of abruptness has more to do with lots of other things than with me!

Love TF

LillyPet Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 8:34am

What a fantastic and clever blog Mary!

The analogy will help me to deal with a more than a little tactless member of management at work!
When I don't like a person, which is rare, it has been easy for me to be offended by things that I'd easily brush or laugh off from others, especially those that I like. Seems a pretty unhealthy way to go about life as it has caused me much resentment and pain.
I dont want to think about those individuals for a minute longer. What they need is a great dollop of deep heat to apply to their clumsy and invasive bits!

My immediate image of you in the garden wasnt far from the truth, as I tackled mine two days ago!
There are two "flower" beds left which still need my adventurous spirit to delve into!
I'll take the image of myself kitted out as an adventuror to work with me, on the days when I am entering the jungle. Rather than weilding a machete I'll imagine my hushed and awestruck voice like Sir David Attenborough! " ... And if you look just over here we have the most remarkable little creature....!" Lol, I said I was going to stop! So over and out!
Thank you more than words can say Mary. Sending adventurous vibes out to all today :) LP xxx

LillyPet Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 8:43am

Ps I'm sorry that the low period lasted for so long, you have emerged with a most amazing, creative and healing gift! Big hugs. Xxx

Mary Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 11:02am

Love the David Attenborough analogy! Much better than my Livingstone!

danielle Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 8:49am

Great blog Mary, thank you. Keep at the garden- we have just tackled ours which also resembled a jungle, planted some mixed wild flower seeds as i am inexperienced in gardening but want some colour. the seedlings have just sprouted I am so excited. Then once done you can retreat to the hammock with a wine (even if metaphorically!). I know what you mean about being sensitive - I am guilty of this most days, jumping to the wrong conclusions or assuming the wrong thing, its particularly easily done with text or email as you say xx

The Gardener Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 2:47pm

A most frustrated gardener - Mr G just gone into a week's respite - should be cap in air, so numb with tiredness have not yet thought what to do - lovely gardening to do - gives great satisfaction but our weather has hit a new low. We have a rhinoceros-skinned Englis woman here, manipulative, and favour seeking - first to take umbrage, wish she'd take it permanently.

Mary Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 3:27pm

Ooh - don't we just know the type! My sympathy and I love that comment. Remember Delores Umbridge in Harry Potter?

The Gardener Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 2:52pm

I have lost a daughter through perceived thoughtlesness, she split up from her charming husband - I wrote to him saying how sorrw we were, in particular that we would see him and his parents here in France. Daughter opened the letter, took exception and hasn't spoken since. No amount of grovelling (she's a forecful character, and a plain apology would not suffice) but once offended always offended, it's awful

Mary Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 3:30pm

It always seems so unfair that, when a marriage breaks up, the friends and parents are supposed to divorce the spouse too. I still adore my ex brother in law and sister in law and am still in contact. Not as close as I would like, but still there. Mind you - I am now, after 20 years or so, working back to a friendship with my ex and his "new" wife. I always liked him. We just should never have got married and just stayed friends.

The Gardener Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 2:55pm

Last post a bit nnsensical, will take the 'rest' everybody is advising, might make more sense afterwards

Mary Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 3:30pm

Yes - I wish you rest and recovery. Sweet dreams dear Gardener!

Lex Wed, May 18th 2016 @ 4:49pm

I was hoping you'd found a frog, kissed it, and it turned into your lovely hubby... but then you already have your prince. Thoughtful words, dear Mary. Oh the accidents I've had with chillies and aftershave... take it easy, eh? L'xx

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