Responding in kind

Noah napping

Noah napping

I did end up having a wonderful time at the thrift store on Monday…here’s what happened. Because it had been closed for 3 weeks, it was packed with shoppers who, just like me, had missed their thrift-store-fix, and the unfriendly woman was working. But what I noticed, since so many people were shopping and checking out ahead of me, was that this woman treated everyone about the same.

And she wasn’t really that unfriendly, she just seemed somewhat arrogant and unhappy. When I had the opportunity to observe her (without taking it personally), I began to wonder why I had dreaded interacting with her so much. The question, “Is this how you are projecting yourself to the world sometimes Mary?” came up, and the answer was “Yes, sometimes.” My next thought was, “Good to know.” I know enough now, not to beat myself up, or do tons of critical self-analysis. Noticing….and being easy with myself, is enough.

As I stood in the very long line to check out, another volunteer came out from the back room, and gently motioned to me to move out of the line. She then whispered, “I’ll check you out right here so you don’t have to wait all day.” It was so easy.

This is what I have come to see; if I am easy with myself, and easy around others, the world will respond in kind.

I’m a mirror. If you’re cool with me, I’m cool with you, and the exchange starts. What you see is what you reflect. If you don’t like what you see, then you’ve done something. If I’m standoffish, that’s because you are.” Jay Z


18 thoughts on “Responding in kind

  1. Mary – You’ve shared some interesting insights from yesterday’s shopping experience. Good to keep in mind as we face less-than-pleasant people in our lives….
    Love the Jay-Z quote!

    • Thank you Pam…and I also try to keep in mind that when doors open easily and people are very friendly that this too is a reflection of me

  2. Hi Mary,

    I’ve read all your posts, but have been so busy that I haven’t responded in a long while.

    I am the check-out lady one day a week at our hospital’s thrift shop. I live in resort town where life is crazy-busy in the summer but “just us” the rest of the year. I worked as a cashier long ago when people still had to make change and the register didn’t say how much. I have to do the same thing at the thrift shop, but with the previous experience, it’s not difficult. I’m able to easily interact with the customers. For some of our volunteers, the check out is a difficult chore and they have to concentrate more on what they are doing then the people they are waiting on. This may be true of your unfriendly woman. Or, maybe she is just shy and it would be hard for her to interact. If so she is being “Eleanor Roosevelt” brave. Bravo to her.


  3. We often hear, “what you see is what you get” – maybe also what you project is what you’ll receive. Great lessons learned at the thrift shop Mary. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Thank you Susan!….the world is always showing me, me. I used to focus on what “needed fixing” and began to see that when very nice, helpful, graceous people entered my life, this too was a reflection of me.

  4. But sometimes this makes me feel like everything is my fault, as if I am responsible for all the negativity. I know that’s a distortion of the basic idea, but it can be overwhelming to think that it all comes back to something I should be doing differently.

    • Oh Charlotte, I am so glad I checked back in here today, Sept. 12th (and my middle name is Charlotte) so from one Charlotte to another, I would hope that we can erase the word “my fault” from our vocabulary, and everyone else’s who gathers here. We all seem to be seeking to release our spirits from a negative mind frame, and free ourselves from patterns in the past, to allow new air into our lives, to be open to all possibility, and maybe most important of all, encourage one another, – listen, ‘check in’ with Mary! every day. I know it is my most favorite time of the internet day once I have put all the other ‘stuff’ into the trash!

      • Susan, thanks for your wise words. Some days it’s easier to erase “my fault” than others but I will keep trying. And I agree with you — this is my favorite part of the internet day as well.

  5. Hi Mary, Noah looks so darn cute! I’m in the process of looking for a cat! I miss the animal eyes looking at me. It’s not like I can bring my lovely lesson horse Maya home with me! I’m not ready for dogs yet but my gut will tell me when. We
    thrift shopped our way home from N.Y. two weeks ago. It doesn’t get much better! Have a great weekend, Cindy

    • I tell you Cindy, that little Noah is the cutest guy!…luckily he doesn’t mind getting kissed on the head because I can’t resist! My sister is trying to find a home for a sweet black male cat (she lives near D.C.) if this is interesting to you, let me know and I’ll set things up. …but i know you will find (and he or she will find you) the perfect cat, and will keep this in my prayers for you both.

  6. Mary, I think my initial reaction to a cool reception is…what is wrong with me. Then I stop. That’s as far as I go with that. The other person may be having a bad day; they may have hang-ups themselves that cause feelings of discomfort with others and sometimes it’s just a bad mix of interpersonal chemicals…I try to find a way through the tough exteriors at times but some folks are pretty hard to soften up and I just let it go and chalk it up to, that’s the way it is. Charm only works so far.

  7. A coworker is very moody and negative and tends to make snarky and condescending comments when she’s stressed. Some people like to give her the same attitude in return, which can make for a tense workday. Today started off fairly negative, but ignoring the attitude and staying positive actually seemed to turn her mood around by the end of a meeting! Miracles do happen. 🙂

  8. Oh Mary, There’s one possibility of a small 3yr. female gray cat. Not definite though. We have two shelters near us, and plan to get to them. Thanks for passing on about your sister though. Your kindness is so appreciated. 🙂 Cindy

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