Monday, November 7, 2011

SPIRIT: Putting Down the Gavel and Picking Up a Mirror

Best Blogger Tips Today, when I was at the Y, I noticed a man helping a woman in a wheelchair with the free weights.  He assisted her with finding the correct equipment, even showing her how to use some of the more complicated devices.  He smiled, making her at ease and comfortable with asking for help.

I actually see him most of the time when I go to the gym.  He is kind to everyone, usually stopping his workout with a smile to talk to the other members.  He seems to be one of those guys who is popular and well-liked.  The exchange I witnessed with the woman in the wheelchair is a good indicator as to why.

But I don't like him.

One afternoon last spring, I met him in the parking lot of the local supermarket.  An elderly lady pulled out in front of him and he laid on the car horn and gave her a nasty look.

That was it.

For some reason I felt like I had caught him.  Sure, he was gracious every time I saw him at the Y, but now I knew he was actually rude and impatient.

This morning, I realized how wrong I was and I realized some things about myself.

1.  I should be more thoughtful toward others.  I don't know this guy.  He could the kindest person in town, but I allowed one incident to change my whole opinion of him.  When I saw him in the parking lot, maybe he was having a rough day.  Maybe he had his car hit at the store once.  Maybe he was concerned the lady would get into a serious accident someday if she didn't pay attention better.  I should notice when people are generous and kind, not judging them.

2.  I should be more thoughtful about how I behave.  What if you saw me snapping at my four year-old son after he had woken up our baby for the fifth time that day?  Would you think I was a great person if you overheard me complaining about my husband?  You probably wouldn't want to converse with me or come to me for help.  I need to be the person I want others to see all of the time.

From now on, I'm going to try to be more patient, less judgmental.  I'm going to be more aware of my prejudices and look for ways that I'm being proved wrong.  I want to be the one people come to when they need help, the one that makes them feel a little bit better about their day.

I want to be the woman helping the person in the wheelchair, not laying on the horn in the parking lot.

Have you ever caught yourself being judgmental?  Were you proven wrong?  Has anyone caught you on a bad day and thought the worst of you?

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  1. I catch myself being judgemental at least once a day! I think that is is human nature. But the important thing is to remind yourself, like you did, to think about what we DON'T know about other people. I get ticked off every time I see someone parked in a handicapped spot without a tag. Or when someone cuts in front of me in a line. But I remind myself that I also don't know the situation.

  2. That's good! I notice that my prejudice lasts quite a while until I really get to know someone. I still try to be kind to people though.

    The handicapped sticker thing really bugs me, too. I think it because my grandma was in a wheelchair for 20 years!


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