I have noticed lately that everywhere I go, there is an overabundance of mean-spirited people wandering about in public. These folks make it difficult on restaurant servers, retail clerks, grocery clerks and cashiers, drug store employees, convenience store operators, etc. The level of rudeness and inconsiderate dialog appears to be getting worse. Of courses, there are always nice folks too … but the mean ones seem to be increasing to a higher level of mean-streakiness.
For example, while waiting in line at Walgreen’s for my prescription today, a man in front of me at the register was being flat-out rude to the cashier. Boldly claiming “you’re trying to steal my money.” Puzzled, she asked him what was wrong? He said “you charged me $11.97 for this and it’s suppose to be $9.97. I demand to see you Manager immediately or there’s gonna be hell to pay.” Really? For two dollars? These are barcoded items and he could’ve just asked her if the price in the computer had been changed to reflect the sale price. But instead, he chose to be rude, verbally patronizing, and downright mean.
The Manager came and he was equally rude to her as well. She was as nice as she could be. Courteous and caring. She said “I will take care of this immediately for you sir, and my apologies for the inconvenience.” He responded by saying “not only are you trying to get away with overcharging me, but you’ve wasting my valuable time.” While she stepped away to resolve the problem, he stood there murmuring to himself and throwing in a bunch of huffs and puffs as if he had just been ripped off by Bernie Madoff and his retirement funds had been cleared out.
Meanwhile, the staff was so very with other customers. Literally running back and forth grabbing prescriptions and taking care of the drive-up window. When it was my turn, I was very polite and nice … more so than usual … and apologized to the cashier for the man she had been confronted by. I had noticed she was almost in tears the way he had spoken to her. I just told her some folks are just plain old mean and miserable. They have created that reality for themselves by the way they have perceived things in their life. You can get better, or you can stay bitter. It’s a personal choice and not one I can effect on anyone else other than myself.
I used to be a nasty hard ass when I allowed myself to get mad at someone or something. Then I learned it got me nowhere but behind. And all I was doing was hurting others in the process who may be going through things worse than I could dream of. I have learned that all of our positive and negative emotions are a choice. We must “choose” to get mad. No on can actually “make us mad.” We must choose to be rude, vile, mean, angry, and abusive. Why not choose instead, something that benefits all of us. Choose compassion, caring, understanding, respect, and edification. They are all both sides of one coin. And whether you know it or not, before you flip a coin you have already chosen the answer you want.
Ancient scripture says “do not resist evil.” And what this means is that what you resist, will persist. You’re bringing life to it. What you push, pushes back at you. The universe is as an echo or a boomerang. What you put out, will return. It’s cause and effect - sowing and reaping. You’re helping to manifest the same form from your thoughts over and over. Just let it go. Observe … witness without judgement and without applying labels. As the ship sails off in the distant, just watch it and have no thought of it anything more than just being the witness to it’s journey. Let go, and let live. As the Beatles once reminded us … “Let It Be.”
Just a thought …
~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.