My reaction to being wrongfully accused

Photography by Liza Becker

There are milestones on the journey to self-actualization. This week I reached a big one.

I received a letter from my accountant’s collection department instructing me to call them with my credit card number immediately because my bill was long past due. The tone of the note was curt, authoritative, and scolding.

I paid the bill months ago and as I pulled up an image of the cancelled check, my computer froze. (Many people believe in the Mercury retrograde phenomenon and yes it happens to be happening now, but I have my own sort of retrograde energy disruptor. It’s fail-proof.  Whenever I am upset, or pulsing with irritated energy, every electronic around me jams or breaks. Telephones, printers, copiers, computers, coffee machines, refrigerators, cars, and blow-dryer are all susceptible regardless of the stars.)

I was ticked off at being unfairly accused and, because of my computer’s lock up, I couldn’t send the snarky retort I wanted. It would have gone something like this:

Aren’t you an accounting firm? If there’s anything you should be able to keep track of, IT’S MONEY. Here’s proof that I paid your stinking invoice months ago. Now step off!

Blessedly, I could only wait and observe myself as my computer took an eon to fix itself.

I’ve learned to ask myself what’s troubling me repeatedly, until the root source of the upset is revealed. I highly recommend this practice because whatever we react to is so much more about what’s going on inside of us, where our wounds are, than anything else.

Why am I irritated at all? Someone at the accounting firm made a mistake, that’s all. It happens.

Then the answer came. I was upset because I’d been wrongly accused. I’d done nothing wrong and was being treated as though I was bad and disliked. Ahhh my old wound. This wound is decades old and from a time when having people approve of me meant more to me than my next breath. It’s a wound I’ve made great strides in healing.

I sat quietly looking at the place inside me that’s still harboring those old feelings and by shining light on them, my reactive feelings lifted.

I’m not a lost child anymore and I don’t need others to be pleased with me. Whatever the person writing the email thinks about me doesn’t matter. What I know about me is what matters.

My computer came back to life. I drafted a polite note—the kind I’d want someone to write to one of my children, if they’d made a similar mistake—and attached a copy of the cashed check.

I responded the way someone whole, healthy, and independent of the opinions of others would. As a self-actualized person, I still may not like being caught up in someone else’s mistake because it’s distracting, but that’s about as far as it goes. I wouldn’t react emotionally.

Within an hour, I received an email explaining what happened, profusely apologizing, and thanking me for my kindness and understanding.

This email didn’t mean anything about me either.

I’d love to learn about your experiences with this. Leave me a comment and tell me: Do you lose your power to meaningless events? Do you get upset when people see you in an unflattering untrue way?

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21 Day Fast


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