Updated: Oct 7, 2021
My gardener is now on Whatsapp* and as I messaged him, I happened to see his status: misogynist man. Before I became outraged, I thought it first prudent to double-check the meaning of the word “misogynist”. As I suspected, it wasn't something nice; it means woman-hater. I was not impressed. I decided that when I saw him the next day, I would confront him. He has worked for me for a while, I am always fair and kind - and I’m a hardworking, single mother - how could he hate me? And that’s when I remembered Winston Churchill’s words: You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. It wasn’t about what my gardener allegedly thought. It was about the fact it had nothing to do with me, and my having an emotional reaction to everything that happened around me wasn’t serving anyone. What did I hope he would say? And what was the likelihood that, as his employer, he wouldn’t just agree with me? This was a very silly situation to be in, not least of all because I’d created a “situation” out of it in the first place. And all in my head. Enter my PhD in overthinking. But back to the dog and the stones (who does that anyway?!). By expending, no wasting, my finite energy on this, the mental bandwidth for everything else in my life was considerably reduced. But even though I had made a decision to just keep my side of the street clean, why was this still niggling at me? Because I don’t like letting things go. I like to fix. I feel that by figuring things out and telling everyone, I’m doing the world a great service. Except I’m not. I’m just giving myself an ulcer about a comment that says more about the person who said it, than who it’s being said about. And maybe he doesn’t even know what he’s saying. Or why. Either way, two words: Dog. Stones. Remember these the next time you find yourself down the rabbit-hole that is your crazy thinking. And I don’t mean that as a judgment, rather as a fact. There’s a reason Buddhist’s call it the “monkey mind”.
*Yes, all you smarty pants out there, I am back on Whatsapp. This time, being much more intentional in my actions, I promise.