Something happened to me a week ago and it’s been bothering me all week. I walked into a store that I frequent often. When I walked up to the counter to conduct my business a shop assistant who I have worked with often walked out of the back. Instead of greeting me with a smile, this person, upon seeing me enter the shop, immediately turned around and walked into the back again. Yep. This person did THAT thing to me. That thing where you avoid someone you don’t want to see or talk to.

I instantly felt deflated. Not in a “popped balloon” kind of way. It wasn’t so dramatic. No, it felt like someone opened up my air valve, allowing the air to slowly seep out of me. I was able to conduct my business with a smile and leave and go about my day. But this episode has left me feeling bad.

I am not angry at the person at all. I really respect this person and the work that they do. And, honestly, I don’t know that this is what they were doing. I can’t jump into their head to know that this is why they turned around to go into the back again. I think this is more a reflection on me. I have done this exact thing to other people. I did it yesterday, in fact. I avoid people when I see them coming and don’t feel like talking to them. Last week I got a taste of how it feels for them when I do this.  Guess what? It doesn’t feel good. At all.

So I’ve thought about this and how I can learn from it. I’ve been thinking about why I avoid these people.  What makes me avoid them? What are these people doing that is causing this aversion?  Then I wonder if I am doing those things and if I am, how do I change it? Do I change? Is it even possible to change my personality to make myself less repulsive to others? Do I even want to do that? The rebel in me doesn’t. Fuck them. I am who I am and if they don’t like it,  fuck ’em. Also, I am not sure it is even possible to just change instantly over night.  Honestly, I don’t even know what I am doing to cause this aversion, so how is changing my personality even possible?

On the other hand, I like being liked. I do not like rejection. Rejection hurts.

I think the key is to notice how it makes me feel. It makes me feel pretty bad. I can now empathize with the people I do this to. If they are noticing that I am avoiding them, then they must feel bad. That sucks. I don’t want to make people feel bad.

I come across a lot of lonely people in my line of work. I deal with a lot people who don’t have much contact with others. I realize that I need to be more compassionate with these people. They don’t deserve to be avoided. I need to figure out how I can work with them from a place of compassion and not aversion. I don’t know how I am going to do this in some of the cases but at least I feel like I have the right perspective. I can’t expect them to change to suit my needs. I need to accept them and work with them.

6 thoughts on “That THING

  1. Just the fact that you give a damn is something rare and important. Compassion has been devalued in our society, becoming synonymous with weakness. Recognizing its value and need is one of the most important things we do as human beings. You’re far ahead in the game in feeling the way you do.

    So go ahead and feel bad about particular incidents if you must, that just means you have a conscience. Just don’t feel bad about yourself.


  2. What I really hate about compassion is how it starts at home – with myself. It’s so dang hard to have compassion for myself and the fact that I do want to avoid some people and be ok with that. (Not that I shouldn’t work with not avoiding most people that only irritate me a some.)

    In my limited understanding of being Zen, at the moment this occurs, this is an opportunity to notice and it appears you did that. Now it’s over, you’ve learned something, but it’s over – when I’m in this spot you’re in, I keep letting the negative karma of the event keep going forward into the next moment – but it’s over and in this new moment is where I get to attempt to find my self compassion. I hope that makes sense – but if it doesn’t, I’ll live with that. 😉

    Great mindfulness Monica! Thanks for sharing it!!!


    1. Yes! That is a problem of mine – going over things in my head. This blog post is pretty much exactly how the tape plays in my head.


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