Often I walk to the grocery store, since I do not have a car and I must carry my food. Rather than making one large trip, I make smaller trips more frequently. This helps because I purchase a lot of produce, which rots quickly. Usually my kitchen is kept unstocked because most of what I don’t keep excess.
Today I made a grocery run to get the usual food; apples, bread, milk, cheese, the basics. I gathered the groceries quickly and went to the self-check out. I shop often enough that I know many of the codes and can go through faster by scanning the food myself. As I scanned the items, I came across my apples, which had a long code printed on the tag because they were organic. The extra digit set the self-checkout off and a flashing light came on.
I waited patiently until a clerk walked over to assist me. She said to enter the code into the computer. Many of the people who work at the local grocery store don’t speak English well. I tried to explain that the code didn’t work and eventually she grabbed the apples, threw them on the scanner and punched in a code. It went through and registered properly with the code. I obviously did something wrong with how I scanned them.
When the woman grabbed the apples, she slammed them onto the register out of frustration or anger. Immediately I felt frustrated at her. By slamming the apples I figured that she bruised at least half of them. She didn’t pause, or explain what happened, but instead opted to grabbing the apples.
As I walked home fuming I realized that there was no need to perpetuate her frustration or anger. She wasn’t angry or frustrated because of me, it was something inside of her. Maybe she was having a rough time at work or at home; she acted out of her emotion, not mine. I felt frustrated because she treated me that way but I was the one feeling frustrated. She didn’t make me frustrated, I made myself frustrated. When I realized that I didn’t have to be frustrated, I immediately calmed down.
Each of us act out our own emotions, whether they’re positive or negative. The way we treat people is not because of other people, it’s because of ourselves. I could have carried that anger and acted frustrated towards someone else but there was no need for it. I have my own emotions and I am responsible for them. I don’t have to be frustrated.
When I realized that these emotions were mine own, I took ownership for them. She didn’t make me frustrated, I couldn’t blame her. She was acting for herself. We are all suffering in some way and paying attention only to ourselves. She was only paying attention to herself and I was only paying attention to myself. When she treated me that way, she was only paying attention to herself. When I was frustrated, I was paying attention to me.
I took it personally when she threw the apples. She did something against me. To her, I must have been an annoying customer doing something against her. If we take a few steps back, we can realize that neither of us were concerned for each other. I didn’t care about her well being, I could have treated her better. I could have asked her about her day or thanked her for helping me. We both could have treater each other more kindly.
Each person is going through something different in life. There is no need to carry emotions or treat people based on previous experience. We need to attend to each other and be present. She could not have made me angry, no one else control my emotions. Yet I blamed her for making me feel that way. We must know that each person is fighting their own battle, treat everyone with kindness and as if it’ll be the last time you see them.