Sunday, December 05, 2010

change the world one interaction at a time

Too much of a self-centered attitude creates mistrust and suspicion in others, which can in turn lead to fear. But if you have more of an open mind, and you cultivate a sense of concern for others' well-being, then, no matter what others' attitudes are, you can keep your inner peace.

HH Dalai Lama

Today at the post office, I pulled into my parking space unfettered on either side by other cars and threw open the door as one does when preparing to disembark. Then I heard a horn honk. Someone was pulling into the space next to my door. I pulled the door close and finished gathering what I needed to mail my package before getting out of the car.

It so happens, the other driver got out of her car at the same time, so I smiled at her and said, "Sorry about that. I didn't see you coming."

She grunted. "Close." No smile. No engagement.

Her reaction bothered me. Yet, I chose to take the high road. I was pleasant. I apologized for my obliviousness to her arrival. Truth be told, I wanted her to share that interaction with me. I wanted her to acknowledge that she was behind me in my blind spot. I wanted her to engage with me and smile back, letting the whole thing roll off both of our backs. I wanted her to meet me half way.

She didn't.


All any of us can do is our part.


SE'LAH... said...

that's right...even when not appreciated, we do the right thing.

muah. hugs to you.

one love.

Deb Shucka said...

Her loss as well as yours. But maybe, just maybe, your bit of light found its way through her darkness so she'll smile at the next person.

Can't tell you how much pleasure I got just reading your use of the word "unfettered." :-)

Carrie Link said...

Happiness comes at the end of desire. Just sayin'.

Kathryn Grace said...

We cannot know, can we, how our attitude affects another? Perhaps she is totally unconscious of how her behavior affected your day, how you had to struggle to respond with kindness, to overcome the ill feelings her behavior evoked.

Perhaps it did not occur to her that she had the opportunity to feel good in that moment, to enjoy a lighthearted exchange with a fellow traveler.

Or maybe, just maybe, your smile and apology got through to her thirty seconds later, or as she fell asleep that night. Maybe she thought about that moment and made a decision to do better next time, to be more aware, to smile and enjoy the moment.

Impossible to know.

When you were thinking about it all later, I bet you were glad you took the high road, though. I imagine the alternative would have you left you feeling a little sicker still.