I work with someone who has naturally-occurring high levels of stress, to the extent that every speed bump is a ten on a scale of one to ten. She takes work-related things personally. If someone doesn't respond to an email in a timely fashion, for example, she tells me she hates that person, and from then on, that person has a terrible track record in her eyes. She also then gives attitude to that person, who understandably does not enjoy receiving attitude and thusly, tries to avoid working with her.
I explain to her how she can't respond to people from a place of hostility, how it will work better if she recognizes everyone has multiple demands on their time and her request is just one of multiple requests that each person has to manage for themselves. I urge her to approach co-workers in a spirit of collegiality rather than as adversaries who have perversely decided to ruin her workflow and her life.
I am turning the tables on myself and for my own sanity, not taking things my boss does personally. I do pretty well with everyone else, but my boss can come across as rather judgmental (she is a bit of a perfectionist). You can see how this might make me a bit nuts between the two.
So today, I give you this:
In case you can't read it, it says:
The sun is up
The sky is blue
And so are you
It's a postcard for a business called Lyrical Kids, which offers "music classes for babies, kids, and their grown-ups."
It is a simple message. I keep it by my desk to remind myself when things get complicated. They don't always have to be.