ChoicesI was so angry I was almost shaking.

“May I help you?” the teller asked. I shook my head.

The bank was nearly empty. I sat waiting for the lady who handles stuff the teller usually can’t. It was taking forever to open some guy’s new account, but that didn’t bother me. I was mad because I was facing a rash of overdrafts. The bank had put a long hold on a big deposit. My debit card quit working that morning, and I had mailed several checks the night before.

Why didn’t they tell me about the hold? I thought. They have e-mail address!

It had been a long time since I was this mad, and I didn’t like the feeling. Now I was angry about having my emotions hijacked. As I sat seething silently, words of wisdom past slid into my brain: I get to choose how I feel… Look for a better feeling thought.

I closed my eyes and breathed slowly, deliberately. I cast about for better thoughts. It wasn’t personal. They would have done it to anyone. I knew about the hold they put on big checks, but I forgot. It’s really my fault (oddly enough, that helped me). It’s only money. I’m a smart guy, and I’ll get this sorted out.

The second time the teller asked if she could help, I decided it was worth a try. I walked over explained my situation. She went to ask someone, then came back with the news. “We can’t do anything at the branch, but I can give you the customer service number.”

I took the number and left. I still had a problem to deal with, but at least I felt more like myself.

Two weeks later I’m still cleaning up the mess, but I never let my anger control me.

It’s true. You do get to choose your feelings.

Photo credit: Darren131