One even mentions going to the store manager. The next person to reach the register, though, offers a few words of encouragement and says to the clerk, "I can see you're really having a stressful day -- with all the price checks, delays and cash register malfunctions. Just know everything's gonna be all right." With that, big tears started rolling down the cheeks of the clerk's face. She says, "My baby's in the hospital, and I'm so worried. Plus, my husband just got laid off -- and I don't know what we're going to do."
Another "PIP It" example.
The little boy shouts out, "That's the one for me." The farmer says, "No, you don't want that one, son. He has something wrong with his back leg, and he can't run very fast." The little boy pulled up the legs of his jeans to reveal steel braces on his legs. "He's perfect," the boy says. "You see, I can't run very fast, either; and I need a dog who understands."
Whew! It just goes to show that we never know what's behind another's behavior. And while there are, undoubtedly, many examples in which behavior seems inexcusable, and might very well be, it's not up to us to judge or condemn.
I realize certain situations obviously call for supervision -- parenting, managing, etc. I'm just suggesting it may help to take a step back or a deep breath before immediately jumping to conclusions, especially in random situations.
Even when we're somewhat familiar with the players and the circumstances, we can be caught off guard. I was puzzled a few years ago when a client became upset in a meeting for no apparent reason. I kept wondering over and over, "What did I do to upset her? Why did she act like that?" And then I began to feel slighted -- like I didn't deserve that kind of behavior.
I learned later that it had nothing to do with me. (This goes to the second pattern of normal reaction -- taking things personally.) As I reflected back, the meeting was on Dec. 23. And, when I learned that her husband had passed away earlier and this was her first Christmas without him, it made sense.
So, I'm not saying we all play the role of Pollyanna or act like doormats. I'm just suggesting we may want to give others the benefit of the doubt at times. If not for them, at least for our own peace of mind.
Because, as author Anaïs Nin said, "We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are."
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm specializing in advertising, public relations, government relations and interactive marketing. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to livelifef...@arnoldagency.com.