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…

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4 responses to “Weird Views on the News: Wait, It’s Not All About Me?”

  1. David says :

    I struggle with this myself. When I drive on I-4 I only get in to the left lane to pass, then get back over. But you always have that random person doing 50 in the left lane causing the entire passing system to break down. At what point does that person’s desire cruise in the left lane become more important than all the people behind him’s desire to drive at a reasonable speed?

    Ideally we should just relax and accept the inconvenience, but I think the thing that upsets me is that it doesn’t need to happen. The people shopping can very easily move their baskets out of the way. The person doing 50 can, very easily move over to the middle lane. Anyhoo… nice blog. 🙂

  2. mefkin says :

    I have also thought about this very same complaint and I agree with you. It is usually our individual point of view that determines when something is annoying or an inconvenience.

    If someone is blocking the aisle or standing in front of a section you want to get to, a simple – “Excuse me – may I just grab one of those packages?” and a smile and thank you, is a LOT easier and less stressful on both parties. But it never fails, if I am the one doing the blocking I think, “What’s YOUR hurry?” and If I’m the one being slowed down my first reaction is -“Come on – I haven’t got all day!” I always try to be aware of whats going on around me, but I’m not always succcessful. But it still seems to me that there are people, male and female- who are oblivious and really do not care who they are inconveniencing.

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