While waiting in a bank lobby chair, I listened to the rhythmic clank-clunk of the self-service coin counting machine. Glancing at the person using it, the first thing I noticed was an enormous stuffed pig. It was such a bright pink it looked like it might even glow in the dark. The woman using the machine held it upside down shaking out its contents. Then I noticed her hair was the same color as the pig.
What a great photo that would make, I thought.
I quickly turned away as I didn’t want to stare. The woman gave off an edgy vibe with her bright hair and abundant tattoos and piercings. I didn’t want her to feel that I was focusing on her appearance. I was simply struck by the pairing of the pink pig with her hair.
A few minutes later an elderly couple wandered into the lobby. The gentleman sidled right up to the woman at the machine and started a conversation. He told her he wanted to watch the machine work. Soon they were chatting.
Then I realized my mistake.
Although I was fascinated with the compelling image of the pig with her hair, I had turned away. I didn’t want the woman to think I was sitting there passing judgment on her unique style. But then I realized a deeper truth.
Her appearance intimidated me.
I had unconsciously labelled her as edgy, possibly hostile and angry. I falsely believed approaching her risked confrontation. My fear of her difference stopped me from seeing her for who she was: bold, independent, creative– as well as warm and open.
I had stopped being present and connecting with my heart. Instead, I was outside of myself viewing me from her eyes. I worried she would think I was rude for staring. Of course I couldn’t help but notice her one-of-a-kind look but I overcompensated.
The old man showed me a better way. Instead of looking away, I could have turned toward her and actually talked to her. I could have connected. I could have responded with love to my fear.
To become a Messenger of Love is to see all people as equal and to love them all regardless of how they look and dress. If I had been connected with Love, then I could have just said, “Wow, your pink hair and pig look so awesome together! I love it!” And that was the truth.
The elderly gentleman taught me to just treat her like everyone else. Which, of course, is my intention in becoming a Messenger of Love.
So thank you, old (and wise) man, for showing me and reminding me.
Do you smile and talk to everyone when you are out in public? Are there any people who intimidate you? What can you do to brighten someone’s day today? Share your thoughts and stories below.