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A few weeks ago I was walking down one of my neighborhood streets and stopped to notice two signs in front of an apartment building. One on a pretty little chalkboard said:
“To the dog owners who continue to be disrespectful towards this property by not cleaning up after their dogs. Why can’t you stop this disgusting behavior? It’s all about keeping the area looking nice. So how about picking up the dumps like most owners do?”
For added flavor, there was another message on an electrical box panel which read, “Pick up the dog dumps. It’s the LAW!”
If you don’t believe me… check out the pictures included in this week’s blog.
Every time I saw those signs I’d think, “gosh, who would let their dog just go to the bathroom and not pick it up????”
So flash forward to today. A not so funny thing happened on my walk this morning with Birdie. It’s not pretty so I’ll just say it… she decided to do her “business” right in front of the first sign. Now on a 45-minute walk, what are the odds of that happening??
So, as luck would have it, Miss Judgmental here, acting all high and mighty about other people not picking up after their dog’s biz, experienced a moment of pure terror. Just ask my friend Lauren. I was leaving her one of those audio text messages and went into all-out panic mode when I realized I DIDN’T HAVE ANY POO BAGS LEFT.
All I could imagine was this person who created the signs peering out of the window at that very moment ready to pounce on me… or call the police to report my crime. It was seriously a Boo Radley moment from Too Kill A Mockingbird. (all-time best book ever by the way!)
My mind began to race, my anxiety began to heighten, and I felt trapped! … so I did what any normal person would do… I acted like I was oblivious to Birdie and preoccupied with my phone.
The feeling was equivalent to years ago at St. Vincent DePaul grade school having to stand with my nose to the blackboard for talking too much. I just felt I was in BIG TROUBLE!
As I ran away (extremely fast) feeling very guilty, promising myself that I would go home and get a baggie and come back to pick it up, two angels appeared from the neighboring apartment complex. They were the Merry Maids! Sweet Jesus thank you! (Who says your angels don’t have your back?!)
I ran up to them out of breath and jerking my head every few seconds to look behind me…”ladies, do you think you could help me? I’m in a bit of a conundrum.”
Going on to explain my predicament really didn’t thrill them. They wordlessly just stared at me, handed me a garbage bag, and got in their car to leave.
I am pretty sure I was waving the garbage bag up in the air as I ran back so anyone in that building could see I had no intention of committing a criminal offense and the cops could be called off.
As I picked up the poo and made a getaway from Boo, I realized something about the people in that building…First, however, I must clear my conscious so let me confess something…This has happened before. Just one or two times, I swear! But, did I remember to go back? No. Did I run away leaving it, hoping that no one would see me? Yes!
This time it was different, yes, because of the sign, but even more, because I knew the people in this building really cared about their yard. It was important to them. They had self-respect! So for me to run away would have been blatantly rude and disrespectful.
So, as my heartbeat slowed down and as I walked away, it got me thinking…
If you’re not feeling respected by others, take a look at the level at which you’re respecting yourself.
Now, this actual building isn’t any nicer than any of the other buildings on that street, but you can just tell the people who live there care about the upkeep. They respect themselves and take care of their environment. The landscaping is pretty, the shrubbery and flowers are well maintained, and let’s face it, they stand up for themselves when their neighbors disrespect them!
So I share this story with you because I do believe when we become our own best cheerleader, life tends to flow a bit easier. In fact, you could say it is the finest form of self-care!
Where might you be blowing yourself off in small and big ways? Do any of these sound familiar?
- Not asking for a raise at your annual review.
- Saying “ok” to the restaurant your friend wants to go even though you are a vegetarian and her choice is a steak house.
- Jumping to everyone else’s emergencies (aka answering emails) before you even brush your teeth and get ready for the day.
- Eating the second slice of cake when you know one was enough.
- Agreeing… when you don’t really agree.
- And my all-time favorite… saying “sorry” when it’s completely unnecessary. I have made a big effort to watch this! It’s almost like second nature or a default response for some of us. In fact, I was at the grocery store the other day and this guy comes barreling down the aisle towards me with his cart and I quickly moved out of the way saying “sorry.” Two seconds later I realized the ridiculousness of what I just said and had to hold myself back from running after him saying “actually no…I am NOT sorry!”
So, I guess the point of this not so elegant blog this week is this:
Instead of ruminating in your head, ruminating with others, stepping into the victim role, or just feeling fed up with other people… turn around and realize YOU have the power to deal with any poo that crosses your path in life… and it all starts with loving, caring for, and respecting yourself! When you do… so will everyone else!
Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you soon,