I read an excellent post by Genevieve V Georget the other day. She talked about a time when she stopped at her local coffee shop en route to a flight to Italy. The barista wished her a nice trip and said “your life is golden.” Which was so not the truth. Georget goes on to share her story and it’s a raw, ragged one filled with fear and struggle – definitely not golden.
Truth is, a lot of us appear more together than we really are. We bring our polished identities and carefully curated lives forward (especially online) so it’s only natural that people will make assumptions. And not necessarily nice ones. Because people feel suspicious of anyone who seems too “perfect.”
But share those vulnerable stories on how hard your life really is and suddenly, you’re more human than human. A collective sigh of relief is heard because now you’re not all that and you’re just as flawed as the rest.
We like to feel as if we are all cut from the same cloth so we like to see the dents underneath the shiny exterior.
But what about when people are absolutely rude or horrible in public? Do we give them the same chance to explain their behavior?
For example, I don’t dig mean people. If I see someone acting like a asshat, my knee-jerk reaction is to put as much distance between me and that person as humanly possible. I don’t want that energy in my world, in any way, shape, or form.
Which means that I don’t even give these people a chance to share their story. I’ve made my judgment call and a whole lotta assumptions. The door has been closed. (Noticed I used the word “asshat” in the previous paragraph. Totally judgy on my part.)
I started pondering this and wondered: is my compassion meter running low? Is it right for me to make judgments about people based on some bad behavior? Do they deserve the right to share their story too? What might be going on in their lives that may be causing this?
Byron Katie says it best: “We may appear to be mean but we’re really only frightened.”
I’m not excusing or condoning bad behavior, but this statement is all too true. Hurt people hurt people.
Fear causes people to do cray-zee things. Sometimes it makes them act like monsters, ready to lunge and bite at whoever is handy. That might be the barista, a family member, politician, or some random blogger who seems to be having too-good-of-a-time. Bam. Bring ‘em all down to that icky place with you. Now we’re all feeling scared. Sick? Yes. But fear likes companions. Might as well have us all feeling like crap because that’s less isolating than sitting with your pain alone.
Think about that the next time you witness someone being particularly hateful. And maybe, if you’re feeling brave, reach out and ask to hear their story. You might discover that they are a human having a very hard human experience.
When you look at people who behave badly through a filter of compassion, it may not change their behavior, but it will change yours. It’s easy to wag that finger of judgment and feel smug in your kindness (yeah, you’d never do that because you’re so civilized and Zen) but it’s not so easy to consider their story once you’ve made that judgment call. You don’t have to give poor behavior a free pass but you might want to give people a chance.
“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ~ Steve Maraboli
Speaking of sharing stories, Tanya Geisler wrote this wise piece on the “vulnerability hangover”. This is a must read!
Another day, another reason NOT to shop at Urban Outfitters. Free labor? NOT.
Hard to believe but there is a country where women are forced to be fat. Force feeding – yikes!
Emelie Moe gives the low down on what it takes for a new tarot entrepreneur to get going. (She also gave me a sweet little mention!)
Favorite post of the week is from my gal, Courtney Weber: When Loved Ones Don’t Get It (aka what to do when someone wants to “pray for your soul”).
My friend Ethony just launched her business coaching service for aspiring tarot pros. Ethony is ethical, sweet, and she knows a thing or two about tarot business!
Joanna Powell Colbert has a new e-course: 30 Days of Hecate. Joanna describes it as: “30 Days of Hecate” is an ecourse for those who want a daily inspirational touchstone during Hecate’s season of All Hallows, Samhain, the Days of the Dead.
Author Lemony Snicket supports Planned Parenthood in a big way.
A very tough read: my mother let him rape me…and then stayed with him.
I’m Alive is an online crisis network. If you or someone you know is in crisis or considering suicide, you can chat with a volunteer immediately.
Need help with boundaries? Check out this: Assertiveness for Earth Angels: How to Be Loving Instead of “Too Nice” by Doreen Virtue.
Beautiful: Uplifting Prayers to Light Your Way: 200 Invocations for Challenging Times by Sonia Choquette. I love her work!
This looks uh-may-zing: Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous from Alyson Walsh and Leo Greenfield.
I love lifestyle books. Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman’s Guide by Shannon Ables.
And this….oh this! Food is my therapy and the kitchen is my sanctuary. This is the book I’m grooving on: My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl. I get it, Ruth. I soooooo get it.
What I’m Grateful For:
Compassion shown towards me
Coupons for things I actually use
Leaves of orange, gold, and red
Quick walks in brisk fall air
Mercury is direct
Soundtrack for 10/10/15: Music To Watch Boys To by Lana Del Rey – because I can’t get enough of her!
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015
photos from stock photography and personal collection