Weird Views on the News: Wait, It’s Not All About Me?
Context: Our local paper has a “ticked off” section where people can send in their anonymous gripes about whatever, which is where I saw the complaint that got me thinking about this. Okay, it’s not really news…but it’s in a newspaper so it touched news.
So, I tend to avoid the “ticked off” column in the newspaper generally, since I think there’s plenty of complaining already in the world and I don’t really need to go in search of more of it. However, occasionally the teaser link from the main web page will overcome my usual sensibilities and draw me in as it did earlier this week.
Here’s the gist of the complaint. Basically, someone was complaining about how “women” need to think about others more when they do their shopping, because they block the aisles with their carts while they take their time studying the shelves and don’t care that others can’t get by. Of course, I’d never realized that aisle-blocking is a trait exclusively displayed by one gender, but that really isn’t what’s kept me thinking about this one for the last several days.
Instead, I’ve really been more bothered by how often my complaints mirror the complaints of this individual (albeit, I try to keep them in my head instead of sending them in to the newspaper). I started to realize that my cranky commentary tends to start with, “If that person were more considerate, they wouldn’t do such-and-such.” If I were honest, what I really should be saying is, “Wow, I’m really concerned with how this person is inconveniencing me” or “Gosh, I really think I’m better than this person because I think I’m more considerate.” And I’m feeling like that’s worse than actually being the inconveniencer in the first place.
See, the only reason I’m probably thinking about it so much is because of the latter opinion. Embarrassing…
Maybe, if I could really increase in selflessness, I could respond to inconvenience or frustration from others by not even noticing that I am inconvenienced at all and replace my worries about my “needs” and my “time” and my “agenda” by spending more mental energy finding ways that I can lighten the burdens of others without expecting them to return the favor. What if that was the natural mode for everyone? How would that change all of our conversations, our relationships, and our charity? Hmm…