Vancouver has grown into a big city. When I used to go out, I would constantly bump into people, “Hi!”, “How are you?”, “Nice to see you!”, “Fancy meeting you here!”, it felt like a small town. It rarely happens now. I miss it.
As a city grows, it seems people become indifferent and sometimes even hostile towards each other. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being amongst strangers. It seems I come across rudeness often and I’ve noticed aggressive honking and cursing on the road.
People are stressed out. The stress of big city life, of keeping up, of being good enough, of having it all. We can get wound up in it and take it out on others.
How does it feel?
When someone takes it out on you?
Or when you take your stress out on someone else?
I’m going to say it feels crappy in both instances.
Your own soul is nourished when you are kind;
it is destroyed when you are cruel.
~ King Solomon
What purpose does it serve, really?
Isn’t it just passing our stress onto someone else?
How do we do this?
~ with a rude comment
~ treating another with disrespect
~ with a look, a frown, a judgmental glance
Imagine someone getting out of bed in the morning with a big dark cloud over them. Imagine their mood and energy.
Now imagine another person waking up at the same time with a big sun shining down on them. Imagine their mood and their energy.
Now imagine the effect these two people will have on all that come into contact with them.
People give off energy, you can feel it as soon as you come into contact with them.
When you meet someone that is all sunshine don’t they just rub off on you?
Don’t you just want to be around them all the time?
Don’t they just perk you up and make you feel better?
What happens when you come into contact with someone under a dark cloud?
Do you allow them to suck you into their dark vortex?
Does their energy affect you?
Recently I had a situation where someone was being very negative and constantly complaining. This person was stressed out and told me all about it. Because of the situation (it was a client hiring me for a photography job that I really wanted) I had to deal with them.
Instinctively, I wanted to talk to someone about it, to complain about this person who was so hard to deal with. I resisted. Instead I chose to look at the situation with compassion and “kill them with kindness”. Every time they complained, I calmly explained again why it was the way it was with no judgement. It was a challenge, but I stuck to it. Each time they came at me with their complaints I took a deep breath, stayed calm and did not allow the negative energy to pull me down. Being conscious of what was happening allowed me to a stay emotionally out of it.
To my complete amazement by our fourth encounter they had completely reversed. They seemed to have woken up from their frenzied negative frame of mind and were now falling over themselves being nice to me, like they were trying to make up for the past. I was astounded. (BTW, I got the job!)
Hate is not conquered by hate.
Hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal.
If I had allowed this person’s negative energy to affect me then there would have been one more person in the world giving off negative energy and spreading it around.
Let’s spread love not hate.
We are all interconnected.
What we do to others we do to ourselves.
How we treat others is how others will treat us.
When someone honks at you, whether literally or figuratively, don’t take it personally, shrug it off or have compassion for them and kill them with kindness.
Stop the cycle, don’t spread it forward.
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”
Small everyday things you can do to make a difference:
- Make eye contact with people and smile.
- Open the door for someone and smile.
- A driver puts their turn signal on in front of you, slow down and let them by.
- Wave when someone lets you drive ahead of them.
- If someone is rude to you, don’t take it personally, shrug it off.
- Say hello to store clerks you see regularly and have a little chat.
- Acknowledge strangers you see regularly with a smile and a hello, at the coffee shop, at the bank, out for a walk.
- Give a stranger a sincere compliment. Always be on the look-out for things to compliment.
- When someone asks you, “How are you?”, and you want to respond with something negative, try a positive and see what happens. Try feeling that positive and change the way you feel.
- If you have a negative experience, put it behind you, don’t re-live it by telling others what happened.
- Live like you live in a small town and you know everyone.
- Become conscious of your stress levels and take a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
I will end with the perfect song for the occasion: