Yesterday morning, I brought my son out for an ice cream cone. He is a 5-year old, so obviously he loves ice cream: my plan was to have such an enjoyable time. Sometimes things don't happen as planned. And sometimes it ends up working in your favor.
We were walking to the back of the store, after placing our order, and there was a disheveled-looking man sitting at a table that we needed to walk past him in order to get to our favorite place at the back of the restaurant. Wow, that was a long sentence.
I tend to smile at people- small smiles for people I walk past; big smiles for people I feel comfortable with, and teeth-baring smiles for people I really like a lot. I smiled a small smile at this man, and he looked like he needed at least one smile that day.
He looked me in the eye, and he said under his breath "you are a stupid woman."
I looked him back in his eyes, and said "pardon?"
He repeated himself, word for word.
I looked at his eyes again and remained calm (although inside I was disgusted).
I said, "I won't ask why," and I walked to my son who was now sitting at our spot.
We sat there for about 10 minutes because I didn't want to walk past the man again, and I wanted to not let him get to me. It was safest for me to make the choice I did, I think. When he left, I explained to my son what had just happened. My son was not impressed with the man being "not friendly."
For 12 hours, it bothered me that I had gone through that experience. Why should I have to feel this way? Am I really a stupid woman? I actually questioned myself.
No- of course I am not stupid. I am anything but stupid. That man doesn't know me. He was probably on drugs or just too hungry to think well. I don't know, but it's not for me to spend my energy on.
I had three important people in my life tell me that he is a waste of my energy to focus on, and now I agree. I decided to place my energy into understanding how this situation is actually helping me to be a more successful person. It's taken me until today (24 hours after the situation happening) to begin to see how I am benefiting from what happened between myself and that man.
Most of my life I have put a lot of my energy into what other people think of me, and I have wanted to make peoples' lives better through my personality and what I emotionally have to give to them. I would smile at people to make them feel happy about their day.
I'm not saying I will stop smiling at people all together. What I'm saying is that I realize now that it is not my job to make everyone in the world feel good about their lives. It's not my job, and I don't need to waste my energy worrying about how every person is feeling about what they're dealing with.
What an insightful experience. I am thankful now that it happened, even though it really sucked (I hate using the work 'sucked'...And I hate using the word 'hate,' but it really did suck and I hated it at the time). Now I love that I have more insight.
On to better things! And wishing you the best, although I don't need to worry about you. I just need to love you and hope that you're headed somewhere that's making you happy.
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