gumTime flies! It has been a year since my last visit with my ophthalmologist. I am currently cooling my heels in his waiting room again.  Other than the cataracts, that are not yet problematic, I expect the exam to be uneventful. The issue I have at the moment is that the lady across the way is popping her gum. I too can pop gum and do it rather loudly if I am trying to bug Cathy or Hudson. Having said that, I do realize that there is absolutely no reason in the world that the popping coming from the woman’s mouth should be such a big deal to me. In fact, I would not be surprised if gum popping is protected by first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  If she wants to pop her Trident that is her prerogative. I do recognize her right. So I have a couple of options:

1…I can go over there and ask her to knock it off.

2…I can choose to ignore it.

Considering the last time that I confronted a woman things quickly went south, I have chosen option two. I’m going to ignore the “Queen of Pop” by choosing not to think about the excruciating torment coming from her mouth. Option number two most always works. Not only does it work on gum poppers, but it also works on bitterness, fear, worry, guilt, hurt, doubt and many other of life’s problematic scenarios.  I have figured out that I have a lot more choice over life’s situations than I previously realized.

What I mean by “not thinking” is to not let myself obsess on the problem.  If I do not consciously fixate on her popping the gum then it does not bother me. It is as if she is just silently chewing like the rest of the world.  Lately, I have been honing my “do not think” approach with rather dramatic results. Whenever I catch my obsessive mode kicking in, I silently say “stop”.  If that doesn’t work I say it out loud. Sometimes I have to say “stop” quite a bit each day. Some days I have to scream it. Of course I cannot do that in this case; she might come over and slap me.  The bottom line is each of us has ample God-given control over how much emotional energy we choose to expend on such issues as gum poppers and the like. As a rule, the less energy spent the better the quality of life.

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory.


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