Monday, August 13, 2012
For the past week or so, I've been in a bit of a funk. For no single reason, I'm irritable, non-social, and listless. And so what I'm about to say is probably not accurate, and odds are, not even true in most cases.

People are selfish.

And lately, this pervasive attitude has really started to bother me.

Do I think people are selfish only in India? No. But with all the social norms I've grown up with, and am now living apart from, I think this truth is easier for me to see here.

When people choose to lie to me instead of give me bad news.
When people push my children on the ground because they're in a hurry to leave an elevator.
When people stare at me blankly and suddenly forget the English they were just using when I ask about things I'm missing in a food order, or when I ask for change from an auto driver.

A few years ago, I struggled to survive in a bad work environment. When I finally decided the stress and frustration was beginning to affect my health and home life, I quit. And when I told a friend of my decision, she said, "You gotta do what's good for you." I nodded in agreement, and it wasn't until I was on my way home that I started thinking that maybe she wasn't right after all.

Because you see - I left that job quickly. I went down to the HR department, gave them my resignation, and then told them that while I would abide by policy and give them two more weeks if they required it, I would strongly prefer that they allow today to be my last day.

I left several teammates in a lurch that day - and heaped the very same stress I'd decided I couldn't handle onto their already burdened shoulders. In truth, I was selfish.

I mention this only to say that in the grand scheme of things, I am one of the most selfish people you will ever meet. But lately I wish we could all be a little more honest, and open, and just plain nice to one another. That for one moment each day, we really make an effort to place ourselves in the shoes of the person standing next to us, and ask what we can do to make their life easier.

So the next time I have to pick twelve items from a menu before I find one that they actually have in stock, I'm not going to get angry. I'm going to smile, and say thank you, and try my best to be the happy part of someone's day, instead of just another customer.

Because the truth is, I'm just being selfish. And the world could use a little less of that attitude.


John T said...

You're not even top 10 of the most selfish people I've met. Sorry you've been grumpy but the planned new attitude sounds like a good one. On a selfish note: Looking forward to seeing you and Jason in a couple months!

Lorenda said...

Hehe. I must remind you that we haven't seen each other in a while.

On a much happier note, we got our invitation!! It makes it feel so much more official. We're getting excited to see you (and actually meet Sarah in person instead of just on Facebook).

John T said...

Have you bought plane tickets yet? Do you know the date you're getting here? I'm going to have a little guys time that I think Jason would be interested in if you happen to be here on Thursday night. You'd actually be welcome also, while you're not a guy you fall under the "traveled 10,000 miles so you can do what you want" clause. If not that's cool, I know timing and such can be tight.

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