Using “The Pretender”

by Fred

Writing is not new to me, but building and operating websites is very new and strange to me. That is why a recent shut-down on both my sites became quite a stressor for a few days last week. Long story short, I switched my web host operating system from Windows to Linux. Everyone I knew recommended it. The hosting company said the site would be down for up to three days while the changes were made. I was uneasy, but I just let it ride. Several times in those three days I went to my site to find that it was still broken. I just let the stress go. Simple enough because I had no choice.

When the time period passed and the sites were still broken, the stressor became more powerful. I called the web host. The technician told me that some files were missing. He couldn’t find them. “They may turn up soon,” he said. Otherwise I would have to call WordPress and ask them what to do. What am I supposed to say at this point? “Look, dickhead, it worked fine until you guys switched the operating system!” Right? Was I entitled to say that? Mm. Probably. But it would have made me the dickhead, even though it was true.

So, I hung up the phone and went to my karate club. Had a decent workout. But the problem kept coming back to mind even while I was working out. Is that okay? How could I let it get to me? I have all these years of training in mind control and meditation and I can’t even concentrate on a martial arts workout?  Isn’t something wrong there?

No. Nothing’s wrong. I would be a bum if I didn’t care about the technical problem with my sites. What kind of guy spends time and money launching a site and then doesn’t worry when it’s not working? A bum. Not me. It kept getting to me. This situation was out of my control. I didn’t cause it, but I was paying for it. So what could I do?

I used the “Pretender” technique from the Toolbox. Every time the stressor came into my mind, I simply said, “I am the kind of guy who does not get upset when the situation is out of my control.” It wasn’t true. I was already upset. But I pretended that I was “the kind of guy who does not get upset.” I repeated the technique every time the thought came back. I must have repeated it a dozen times in the next three hours until I could get back on the phone with the web host. This technique helped me to remain calm and focused.

Of course, when I called the evening shift at the web host, the techie was just as baffled as the afternoon guy, but I remained calm. Instead of complaining or interrupting her, I was able to wait for her to check some things. She put me on hold three times while she worked the problem. I was calm and pleasant every time she came back on the telephone. She seemed just as baffled each time, but I never became upset with her. That would have affected her ability to work the problem.

Almost as if by miracle they discovered the problem. Some setting in one of my access files had been changed during the switch. In fact the techie corrected it by merely opening the file. My relief felt wonderful! The techie was happy, too. She began reading my humor blog while we were still on the phone. “Oh, my God,” she said laughing. “That singer’s name is Justin Bieber. Not Justin Beaver!” I may have even gained another reader by staying relaxed and focused during a situation that was entirely out of my control.

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