Monday, November 16, 2009

Guest Post: Elisabeth

Elisabeth is my sister-in-law, Mike's favorite older sister. She got married in March, and lives in Ogden with her new husband Jeremy. Lis has a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Utah Valley University, and now works as the library aide in the local high school. She loves to read, write, and play the piano, and she’s always the first to suggest playing a game with the family.

Back when I lived in Provo, there was a restaurant that had really good slow-cooked pulled pork (one of my favorites) and I really liked going there. I went one time by myself and asked the lady behind the counter a question about the menu. She looked like a nice middle-aged mother... until she opened her mouth and made fun of me and my question. I don’t think she meant to hurt me intentionally (still not sure about that) but it did. I didn’t think it was that stupid of a question, but she made me feel like it was. So all of a sudden I felt really uncomfortable, and I could hardly stand finishing my transaction and waiting for my food because her whole manner was offensive. I didn’t go back to that restaurant for a while just in case she was the lady behind the counter. Finally I did end up going again because the food is good, and there was a girl my age at the counter and she was one of the friendliest cashiers I have ever met. After I got my food and walked out, I felt really, really good. It wasn’t just because I was getting good food, but it was the way she was so friendly and open and happy. It made me want to go back again the next day.

The reason for this story is that I have noticed, especially the last eight years or so, that there are some people who try to force themselves on you, force their opinions, their actions, and their responsibility on you, and you respond a certain way because of how they acted toward you. Sometimes I find myself saying I agree with those people even though I don’t necessarily agree just because it’s like they’re forcing their opinion down my throat, and if I didn’t agree I would be the stupidest, most ignorant person in the world. People like that expect everyone to agree with them because they think they are always right, and they want you to know they are right too.

On the other hand, I’ve had many encounters with people who are so open, kind, loving, friendly, happy, and all around lovely, that I feel uplifted and confident after I’ve talked with them because they exude loveliness and loving.

As part of becoming lovely myself, I’ve tried to put a smile on my face, not make snap judgments, accept all types of people, and leave myself open to new experiences and friendships. Many times I’ve made snap judgments about people only to get to know them better and realize that they are great people. It’s something I work on constantly. I know though, that as I learn to smile and be open to people, both of us feel better afterward.


Miri said...

There are always people who make you feel like you're stupid if you don't agree with them, and I HATE that. In fact, I saw an old friend say something today that I thought was along these lines. She said "I hate opinions. There is one right answer and countless wrong answers. This is why I hate working in groups." I understand the frustration of having people disagree with you when you're sure you're right, but as far as the validity of this statement goes, I have to say that there are VERY FEW things in this world about which there is only one right answer. It is very important to learn not to let people make you feel stupid for disagreeing with them, and to not let it make you feel bad about yourself--and it's important not to act that way toward others. If you can express your opinion to others in a way that makes them feel good, they'll be much more likely to understand your point of view.

Meg said...

Some of my favorite people now are people I really didn't like when I first met them. I have so many stories about people I judged and then ended up loving that it's just embarrassing. I'm working on that.
I love this post and also Lis's frequent additions to the blog in comment form. So great.