Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Life Lesson 1

My mother said something to me the other day that made me pause and think. She said "I hope I don't look down on people." We were having some type of conversation, the topic lost to me now, and she came out with that little gem. It literally stopped my train of thought. Have I ever looked down on someone? Surely I must have, no-one is perfect after all. So I started trying to think back, was there ever a time in my life when I made someone feel bad about themselves due to something that they are or that they're doing? I truly couldn't recall a single time, so then I decided to take a new approach. I looked back on the times when someone had tried to put me down. One occasion that sprung to mind was when I was working as a waitress a few years ago. A few friends of mine came in to have some lunch. Things were slow so I was able to chat with them, now for the life of me I couldn't tell you what we were talking about but I do remember one comment from the conversation, that had taken place over four years ago. My friend made an absent-minded comment of me being "just a waitress". Now I know it wasn't her being intentionally cruel or condesending, I'm certain of this as she's still a friend today, but it still stung a little. Now I'm the type of person to laugh things off so that's exactly what I did, and we'll still laugh about it today but it put the thought in my head, how many times have I spoken absent-mindedly and said something that can cause hurt without even realising it? And then ta-da, one event came rushing back to me. I was roughly eight years old and I made a comment about a family member breaking a trampoline if they were to attempt to bounce on it. Something stupid yes? Nope. It hurt them. I didn't think about the words before I said them and I can still see the flash of hurt and embarassment that flashed across their face. Most certainly not my finest moment. Of course I grovelled, pleaded and apologised 'til I was blue in the face, it just so happened that this family member was extremely soft and took things to heart fairly easily. As horrible as that memory is, it's a life lesson, something that I'm extremely lucky to have learned so young. And fine maybe I'm called a push-over by some people and yes, I rarely say "no" to people and alright, I'll concede to the fact that I'm generally the first person to offer assistance but so what? Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? Aren't you supposed to help your fellow man and not demean them? Oh the examples of prejudice, discrimination, racism and extreme ignorance that I've already seen, and not even 20 years old, is enough to last me the rest of my life. In all honesty, isn't ignorance the one thing that we need less of in this world? All I know is that if I hurt someone, intentionally or not, then I feel this burning need to apologise, to make things right and if I'm honest, that's the thing that let's me sleep at night. Well that and a good book.

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