I’m not the best at human interactions—I’m the first one to admit this fact, but I am getting better day by day. Some days I completely blow it and unintentionally hurt another person, but I’m learning that a little mindfulness goes a long way when dealing with other human beings.
The other day, while I was sitting in a Starbucks, I was able to see just how the actions of a customer had a profound impact on a barista. The customer’s drink was wrong (it was a rough day and they had messed up many orders throughout the morning) and she began yelling at the barista. This young woman, who had been doing a great job all morning was hit hard by the customer’s words, called a male barista over, and ran into the back. The order was all straightened out and, when the barista came back out, she avoided the drive-thru for a while, busying herself with other tasks.
“I have really bad anxiety and I just couldn’t handle it,” she whispered to a coworker.
That woman in the drive-thru whose order was wrong triggered this poor girl who had been doing her best. I doubt that it was her intention, but her actions had a profound and negative effect on another human being. Though the customer’s blow-up likely wasn’t about the wrong drink order, it was about something else going on in her life, she took it out on this person she’s likely to never see again.
I’ll never know what else is going on in this woman’s life, but it makes me wonder how many of our interactions and reactions when life is stressful, affect the lives of others.
It’s easy to get so focused on ourselves that we forget to look up and see others around us—from our coworkers to the baristas at your favorite coffee shop, from our family members to the cashiers at the local grocery store. Every single person is made in the image of God, is loved by him, and should be honored for the simple fact alone. This is something that sounds good, but is much, much more difficult to live out. Difficulty doesn’t make this goal any less worthy.
“You’re doing a great job. Keep it up!” said one coworker to the anxious barista.
After this, she was flooded by encouragement and compliments from other co-workers. Slowly, knowing she had the backing of the others around her, she made her way back to the drive-thru and finished her shift there.
The truth is that our words have a profound effect on those around us, for both good and bad. Sometimes, a little encouragement is all that we need to get back up after we’ve fallen or been pushed down. Other times, the belief of someone else can help us see ourselves in a new light and do something we maybe doubted we’d be able to do.
How might we change someone’s world today by a simple word of kindness?
Reading back through the gospels is always a fun exercise because we’re able to read the loving words of the Lord. Though he spoke these to people centuries ago, that doesn’t change the meaning for us today. He calls us daughter and son, he calls out the faith he sees within us, and he doesn’t ever deal in put-downs. While we will never be perfect, we can look more like Jesus in our daily lives and our everyday interactions.
Let’s be on a mission today to call out the gold that we see in others, spreading peace, joy, and kindness in our interactions.
How do you remain kind to others when you’re under stress?
How can we be more intentional with our communication today?