I was boarding the bus a couple of months ago and the driver dutifully stood at my side eager to assist me with securing my scooter. I was somewhat surprised as the usual demeanor is, “You really want me to get out of my seat?” As we together pulled three different seat belts to secure my body, and four hooks to lock down my chariot, the driver twisted the belt that transversed my lap and I disconnected it to smooth it out. He then turned the next belt into a cork screw and I unhooked it to create a flat surface. Then I stopped to think, “What am I saying to this guy about how he does his job?” The truth is, smooth as silk or a twisted hurricane, the belt provided security. The driver’s job was to create a safe environment and he did. But my finicky need to have straps flat could have made him feel like he wasn’t efficient in his work or just flat out frustrated with me! Or he may not have given our encounter a second thought. Regardless, I when I disembarked I thanked him for his service and bid him a good day.
I was wondering what messages we pass on to others about who they are or quality of their performance that really isn’t about them but about our own flawed needs; perfectionism, control or thoughts of knowing the best way to do something when it really doesn’t matter. I think it would be an interesting exercise to follow the ethic of the Hippocratic Oath, “…do no harm”, and seek occasions to put ourselves aside in an effort to lift someone up. Making a positive investment of energy in the “small stuff” can have an enormous return that will continue to give.
Just think of the number of domestic disputes that surface around loading the dishwasher. If your offspring volunteers to load the machine, be grateful for their desire to participate in maintaining your home and resist pouring energy into whether the cups are upside down or on their side. Encourage their participation and thank them for helping out. Do no harm – it’s a little thing for you but can become great encouragement for your child.
I discovered being aware of the little things that irk me in others can provide insights into my personality flaws; recognizing, accepting and learning to manage them can help me accept flaws in others. To be honest I’m just learning how to be human and treating others the way I want to be treated. Humm, sounds like something Jesus said.
If you’re not clear about your flaws, ask someone you trust – I’m sure they would be happy to share their insights with you. Most importantly let’s not focus on our flaws but learn to love ourselves as we learn to love others.
P.S. I ran into the twisted-seat-belt bus driver the other day and he said, “I know – don’t twist your seat beat!” I apologized for being finicky and he said, “I’m sure it’s more comfortable when the belt is smooth and I take no offense.”
Reminder: 28 days until SkyRise – I invite your support! My participant name is Antoinette (Toni) Daniels