She was there again. The Lady Who Pushes All My Buttons was at the Y.

The Situation - Picture this, if you will: A crowded locker room with limited space. Several towels scattered on the floor. A rolling carry-on duffel bag, upended, with shoes, makeup and exercise clothing strewn on the floor and bench. Three outfits in dry cleaner bags, hung on various lockers. A woman in soup-can sized rollers, applying makeup, while asking three fellow gym-goers "Does this dress make my boobs look too big? You know, in this town people think you're a slut if you show too much cleavage."

My Attitude (a.k.a. "thoughts")- I was Judgmental (she's hogging too much space, she's selfish...), Angry (she should know better, be more considerate...), and Unkind (she's an idiot, her outfits are trashy...).

How was that working for me? Not well at all. During my swim I was distracted by all my negative thoughts and kept swallowing water when I'd come up for air.
Time for an Attitude Adjustment Was she really supposed to take up less room? Nope. How do I know that? Because she took up the room she took. Should she have been anything other than exactly who she was, doing what she was doing in that moment? Nope. And how do I know that? Because that's what was happening.

Byron Katie says "When you argue with reality, you lose. But only 100% of the time." The Lady was going about her day, and I was busy believing she should be something other than exactly who she was. Whose moment was ruined? Certainly not hers.

When I came back from my shower and swim, she was drying her hair, and then polishing her nails. Another judgmental thought ("She's taking way too long to get out of here.") surfaced.

I laughed out loud. Why? Because she'd given me a wonderful example of how my attitude (and thoughts) were totally in my control. I could decide to remain a judgmental, angry and unkind person or I could make a different choice. So I did. I decided that she was just like all the rest of us, making our way through the world and wanting to look her best when she did so. She got a warm smile from me and I got a story to tell all of you.

Eckhart Tolle's right. In "A New Earth," he says "Life will give you whatever experience is the most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness." Who knew that my daily dose o' consciousness-raising was going to happen in the locker room of the local Y!

Are you in need of an attitude adjustment? Funny thing, but when I became more considerate of The Lady instead of assuming she should be more considerate of me, I felt better. Notice your thoughts about others, and turn them onto yourself. See if there isn't a glimmer of truth when you substitute "I should" for the original "s/he should." You just might feel better for it, too.

Author's Bio: 

Christina Brandt is a Master Certified Coach as well as a former human resources executive with experience in a variety of industries, in both large corporations and startups. She’s helped hundreds of people to determine their passions, strengths and marketable skills, and coached them through the process of defining their ideal work and how to create it. Working with Christina, clients answer the question “What’s next?” and are awakened to new possibilities for bringing satisfaction, purpose and joy to their professional and personal lives. In addition to her work with individual clients, Chris leads a variety of workshops and coaching groups. She is also an instructor of coaches for Martha Beck, Inc.