The cashier at the grocery store was obviously in a bad mood. He did not greet me or make eye contact as he angrily scanned my items. “You sure buy a lot of fruit and vegetables!” he complained as he stopped to look up yet another produce code.
I could snarl right back or ignore him while fuming silently to myself.
Instead I take a breath and center myself in a place of love. Then I try to engage him. I smile warmly and make eye contact. I compliment him on his shirt and start chatting with him. I witness his mood lift right before my eyes. It was quite magical, really…yet so simple. I know I made a connection with my fellow human.
We finish our transaction both feeling better than before. As I walk away I hear him greet the next customer with a smile in his voice.
And so it goes as I continue challenging myself to respond with love to all situations. This all started because I had something happen to me in 2013 that showed me that love is the answer and is truly more powerful than anger, fear or hate.
Of course it’s natural to want to strike back when we think someone has been rude or is mistreating us. It’s a knee-jerk reaction when we feel we’ve been wronged. It takes practice and a conscious effort on my part to ignore that impulse and reach for a better response.
I’m not advocating we let people abuse us or walk all over us. People think, how can you let him get away with this? Although being the light when others are in darkness works in big situations -even stressful ones involving breakups- I highly recommend you start with much lower stakes.
Try this at the grocery store, the gas station, in line at the post office. Try it in brief encounters with strangers before moving on to the big stuff. Try to respond with love when faced with rudeness or indifference.
I don’t get it right every time but I keep going and keep trying to react with kindness and compassion because it is so rewarding. When I manage to stay in a place of love when confronted by an angry negative person, it’s like watching a miracle. It is almost a sacred experience.
I have to remind myself to do this every time, and that’s ok. Sometimes I forget and lash out in an ego-based reaction. And that’s ok, too. I’ll try to catch myself sooner next time.
I made a vow to let my light shine and help others do the same.
What can you do to add love and kindness in the world? Please comment below and share this article with people who may find it helpful, interesting or inspiring. Thank you.