Okay, so I had a pretty full-on day today as far as experiences go. However, whether it has been influenced by my slightly on-edge exhausted state, or whether it has just not been a lucky day, I have noticed so many instances where common courtesy and consideration have been lacking. It’s something we are all guilty of at some point or another, and I won’t claim to be a saint by any means, but I do try, and thought I would add my two cents of reflection to the discussion now that I have had time to turn the frustration into positive energy.
So tonight I was at the gym and after my yoga class went to do my physio exercises. It’s all back and shoulder strengthening work so nothing too intense, but it does require a few of the machines. As I’m injured I’m only using a light weight and can only do a few sets so without interruption the whole thing takes me about fifteen minutes all up. After I finished up my second-to-last exercise there was another girl on the last machine I needed. So I waited around patiently and checked out my wordpress on my phone so I didn’t rush her too much. However, she continued to occupy the machine for about fifteen minutes, all the while texting on her phone and chatting to her friend so barely using the equipment at all. It was obvious I was waiting the entire time, and then when she finally got off, her friend bolted from the other side of the floor to jump on before me, only to continue chatting more than using the equipment. It took all my restraint not to say something and to remind myself to be kind and compassionate, and as my ride arrived soon after I didn’t get the chance to finish my routine.
Okay big deal, someone cut me off at the gym and I didn’t get to finish my routine. Well I’ll just go back tomorrow and do extra, it’s not a major. But the behaviour behind it, and the missed opportunities as a result ARE. If we want the world to be a happier, healthier place, then we need to start enjoying interactions with other people, and start showing kindness and politeness towards everyone, stranger or otherwise.
I stretch a lot. I can spend a good ten to fifteen minutes on each of the stretchers no trouble, and I know this isn’t fair for everyone else who may want to use them. So whenever I’m on there I always try to keep an eye out if anyone is eyeing up the machine, and if someone uses the one next to me I always ask if they need the one I’m using too. Now I’m sure I have slipped up sometime, and maybe not noticed someone, but I do try. And you know what? It usually ends up being one of the highlights of the session. These tiny interactions are great ways to meet new people, or at least to get some positivity into your day. I find most people are really grateful to be shown consideration, and it usually results in some kind of smiling, laughing, or sharing a story about what each of us has done to warrant hogging the stretch machines for so long. It’s a positive interaction and these interactions brighten up the day in so many ways for BOTH parties.
With technology and the way marketing, media and pop culture work it seems that today we are being pushed into a culture of individualism. We are becoming more and more self-absorbed and ignorant of others around us. However, this individualism isn’t making us happy. We’re becoming disconnected, lonely, depressed… and we wonder why.
If those girls had taken the second to ask me if I was waiting they would have found out that I was going to be on and off that machine in the time it took the second girl to finish chatting and start working. We might have started a conversation (I like to think I’m pretty friendly!). Maybe they were in a rush too and they were only going to be a few minutes, at least there would have been some positive interaction. Then it wouldn’t have resulted in a negative experience for me; and a neutral experience for them if they didn’t notice me; or maybe a negative one if they heard me huff unintentionally as I walked off.
These kinds of things happen all the time. Take a minute to observe a busy cafe or centre like Ponsonby Central. See if you can count the waitresses stacked high with plates and cutlery teetering behind people who are oblivious to their existence. Try to be aware instead and move the one inch to let them past. How about holding the door open for someone and wishing them a good day? How about checking no one is behind you if you’re txting and walking at the same time? How about responding to a “How are you?” from the person making your morning coffee?
My point is: being considerate isn’t hard. And it will add quality to your life too. The majority of the time it takes only moving a few centimetres, or asking one three word question. My mission for this week is to be extra conscious about being considerate. I will try to be conscious of what is going on around me; I will try to help others when I can; I will endeavour to bring a little smile to the face of each person I interact with.
Let’s see if we can do this guys, and hopefully make the world a happier place at the same time!
Have you had any sweet interactions come out of being considerate? Let me know in the comments and let’s start a trend!