The other day I wrote a post regarding the way our perceptions can lead to assumptions which may or may not be correct. Quite often our assumptions are based on our own biases and life experiences.
After writing the post, I started thinking about how often we allow the actions and words of others to affect our moods, our feelings, and generally, our experiences. If someone makes a negative, inaccurate assumption about us, logically we can tell ourselves, oh, that’s just them; they don’t know what they are talking about.
But if we allow it to somehow become personal, thinking that something about us isn’t quite right, we really do ourselves a disservice in carrying a burden that truly doesn’t belong to us.
Several months ago I was in a store in downtown Chicago. I hadn’t been in this particular store before, so I wasn’t quite sure where this, that, and oh, the other thing was located! I noticed a young clerk standing in an open area, saying hello to customers who walked past him. The most striking thing that caught my attention were the number of people who simply ignored him. I have to tell you, this bothered me terribly. He was wearing a uniform, he smiled and ever so politely would say, “Good morning, sir, how you are today?” “Hello miss, welcome; is there anything I can help you with?”
Surely these people must be in the twilight zone not to acknowledge this dear soul. Now, to be fair, some people did manage to grunt what could be taken for a , “morning”, and a few did say, “Good morning”. But many did not.
I couldn’t find the item I was looking for, so I approached this lovely person and with a huge smile he said, “Good morning, ma’am; can I help you find something?” I wished him a good morning as well, and asked him if he could please help me find the item I was looking for. He took me to the exact location of the item, instead of simply stating, “Aisle 5”.
After thanking him for his assistance, I shared with him my earlier observations of the ‘passersby’ who did not acknowledge his presence. I had no idea what he was about to say, but I have to admit his response was a surprise.
“Oh yeah, I’m used to it,” was the reply. “But I don’t let it bother me.” I nodded my head and waited to hear more. He commented, “I figure you never know where someone is coming from. What if they had a really bad day? Maybe they aren’t feeling well, or they’ve got a lot of problems; they could have problems I don’t have.” I could feel tears welling up in my eyes over the profoundness coming from this young man.
He went on to say he always starts the day with a smile and ends it the same way. He told me it wouldn’t be right for his day to be spoiled by something that had nothing to do with him. It didn’t make sense to him. It didn’t make sense to me, either, but I’ve sure let it happen a lot.
I shook his hand, and told him that he had done a lot more for me than help me find my item. I wished him a wonderful day, paid for my purchase, and headed for the train. Encountering someone with as much awareness as this young man possesses seems to be a rare occurrence. I’m a lot older than he is, and I’m still working on it.
What about you, do you let your ‘old nonsense’ go and start the day with a fresh perspective? Inquiring minds want to know (I would love to know)!