As someone who interacts with hundreds of people through my work every week, I see a full spectrum of personalities. I see how people react to mistakes and helpfulness and humor.
I see people who talk on their phones and act as if you’re a nuisance when you interrupt even though they came to you for a service. I see people who get angry when things happen that are beyond my control.
Above these reactions and many more, what sticks out to me the most are the people who react with kindness and patience in the wake of mishaps. These people are what make me enjoy working with the public and they are also my inspiration. Their joy is contagious and I actively work to inspire people in this way in my own life.
Let me ask you, have you been patient today to those providing a service? Have you empathized?
Please don’t think I have it together and am always a bright ray of sunshine to every person I encounter. This isn’t the case. I am sometimes encased in my own personal rain cloud and self pity. Although I don’t go out of my way to be rude or impatient, I do not attempt to be kind either. I am human, after all.
But to the waiter who accidentally gave me frozen tiramisu and dropped a salad plate…Thank you for your service anyway. Your kindness stood out. Thank you for making sure I liked the taste of coffee before putting my dessert order in to start with.
And to the book store clerk who had a huge line of people to get through because of a promotion who apologized for my hour long wait…Thank you for your service anyway. Your vibrant personality despite the hoards of people in your store at 9:00pm stood out. Thank you for telling me my favorite dress was pretty.
I genuinely believe a key aspect to contentment is empathy. Be selfish in a way where you want to make others feel good because it is contagious to you. I promise you it is worth it.