Sunday, October 26, 2008

Entitlement and Depersonalization

I've been trying to get to the bottom of why I often feel frustrated and act less than kindly in throngs of people. For me it seems to boil down to a feeling of entitlement and a lack of realistic expectations.

I tested my theory today in the Target store just half a block south of my home. As I walked into the store I instantly felt a cloud of grumpy sour nature descending. To my mortification, I realized that I was angry because the main aisle leading to my destination was *gasp* littered with PEOPLE.

Imagine that.

I paused for a moment, took a few slow, deep breaths, and acknowledged that I was not entitled to an obstacle-free shopping experience now OR EVER.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get off my high horse.

Miraculously, as soon as I shed the fantasy of the world created for my personal pleasure and convenience, the shopping experience took a decided turn for the pleasant.

I accomplished my errand with little difficulty, paid for my purchases, and made my way through the crowded check out area, weaving carefully around people with their laden shopping carts in other lines.

I finally reached the double wide express lane aisle where I was hoping to safely and sanely make my escape. A woman, whose husband was standing with their cart in the express lane, wandered about in front of me, expertly blocking my egress no matter how I maneuvered. As I finally escaped the whirling vortex of confusion, the woman turned to her husband and said, "I'm being chased by a shopping cart."


My status had been depersonalized to that of a shopping cart with annoying characteristics by someone clearly unaware that their actions might be affecting others.

How often had I done that very thing?

Too often.

As I exited the store, I was grateful for the earlier epiphany. It helped keep me from taking that offhand remark personally and strengthened my resolve to stop depersonalizing others and viewing them as obstacles to be avoided or overcome.

I don't expect overnight success.

No matter.

I will try.

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