I was strolling through the park a few months ago when I saw a woman booty shaking like crazy. She was dressed eccentrically, and had her headphones connected to a walkman. Yes, you read that right. So much about this woman was odd. In my head I was wondering if she's mentally ill, homeless, on drugs, etc… I was wondering about her story, and assuming that hers was a negative circumstance. Then it hit me. Actually she looked really happy, and I had a furrowed brow.
She was dancing, and I was judging.
I caught myself. I realized that if I had the guts, I'd be dancing in the park on a beautiful day too.
I was walking through the same park yesterday with a friend. She noticed a man flailing his arms, and made a joke about our present company. We looked closer and realized that his movements, though awkward, were more of a methodical swinging than flail. I remembered the woman dancing a few months ago, and I said out loud,
"everyone is just trying to have a good day."
I don't remember where I picked this up, but I've taken to repeating it to myself when I get judgy. Life is hard. Bodies age. We all wake up with some degree of stiffness, pain, sadness, and hardship. Movement, however awkward is a perfectly productive activity to engage in. Good on them!
Everyone is just trying to have a good day. I try to bring this into every scenario:
The person answering your customer service call in India.
The person at the fast food drive through. (please stop eating there).
The person taking care of your children.
The person driving under the speed limit when you're running late.
The person washing your car.
The person waiting on your table.
When people treat you unfairly or without warmth, it's safe to imagine that their day isn't going very well. They are just trying to make it to that blissful moment when their head hits the pillow and for what feels like seconds, they aren't responsible for anything.
We can't change the actions of others but we can change our responses. When we have an opportunity to make someone's day brighter, let's take it. Take a deep breath, tip well, be encouraging, give more compliments, tell more jokes, and make people smile.
Thanks for reading, make good choices! :)