I was at the grocery store the other day, and I saw a man engrossed in a book outside. And being the extrovert that I am, I approached him and asked what he was reading.
He looked up from his book with a stare of anger and annoyance and stared me dead in the eyes and shouted, “None of your damn business!”
I was in a state of shock! I wasn’t expecting such an explosive response and didn’t know what to say or do as my anger arose. I wanted to say words I normally don’t utter and wanted to react with the venom I used to before learning how to control my rage.
Hours later, I told a friend about the incident and was shocked again at their reply. The reminded me that I didn’t know this man. I didn’t know his story or the state of his mental health. So as much as his reaction wasn’t favourable to me, I needed to respect that the man was human too.
This revelation pricked my ego as it challenged the state of my Emotional intelligence. I had to admit I lacked empathy at that moment.
“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” – Unknown
We live in a selfish, self-absorbed world. We tend to think about ourselves and how we feel and forget that behind every frown, scowl or, in my case, an angry outburst, there is a person who has a story.
This situation humbled me and made me realize that as much as I have a story to tell, the freedom and platform to tell it, not many people have that luxury.
So I hope this is a lesson for you as much as it was for me. We need the presence of grace as we interact with people who may be hurting and haven’t come to a place where they realize they need help and possibly do not have the necessary support or tools to cope.
If I have the opportunity to see this man again, I want to tell him that I am sorry for jumping to conclusions and not giving him the grace he deserved at that moment. I want to say that whatever he is going through or has gone through, there are people and places that are open and willing to help.
Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to Help!