Quote : You’ll never make a good impression in life or on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you’re making.” ― C.S. Lewis
We go about our day to day lives most times oblivious to the people we interact with or the many many faces and races we encounter. Every now and then we might acknowledge a stranger with a smile or a politely appreciate a waitress, driver, sales assistant, cleaner etc. And on even rarer occasions we may actually strike up conversation with a stranger. When it’s an engaging, soul, spirit or mind connection the conversation is heart warming. But what about the times when someone reveals something our psyche doesn’t quite know how to respond….
I met an elderly gentlemen in an airport terminal restaurant eating alone, looking incredibly tired and weary. Trying to be cheery I said “you had a long day hey, bet you can’t wait to get some sleep on your flight” his reply “I’m very tired, not because its a ‘Red Eye’ (overnight flight) but because my wife died yesterday”.
My stomach flipped a little, I was horrified, and said “I’m so sorry to hear that” then almost instantaneously became tongue tied. I wanted to give him the biggest hug but embarrassingly offered just a small arm stroke!
Why was it that 20mins later hindsight kicked in – why hadn’t I said much more or been just that little bit more sympathetic, friendly or simply ask if he at least needed company until he got to the gate? What is it about human nature that left me, the one who can rattle on for hours and hours have nothing more to say than a few repetitive “aww, I’m sorry, so sad”?
I believe it was self-consciousness – the habit of judging myself negatively. Yet I do believe the words or necessary reaction was within me, but it got lost in the moment of surprise. I pondered on how many occasions I’ve missed an opportunity to randomly encourage, affirm or offer a simple smile. We were created for relationship, the need for connection is a fundamental human need. Even if we do not experience whole, healthy nurturing friendships or relationships we ‘Crash’ into each others lives to gain that connection. (‘Crash’ amazing movie about human connection )
A stranger does not know or in fact need to know my inner insecurities, so I’ve set myself a few challenges I’d like to encourage you to consider the same:
- Whenever I walk into a crowded lift, confidently smile and say hello
- Pay a compliment to a stranger every day
- Pay attention to individuals who perhaps needs a friendly conversation
We cannot begin to imagine the struggles, insecurities, worries, pressures or the concerns of the people we interact with on a daily basis. Just an awareness of a potential struggle and resisting the need to be self-absorbed i.e. bettering their sad story, will allow us to be more open to show love, offer hope, be an encourager and don’t forget the power of a hug. “A hug is healing power without words. Sometimes silence and a gentle touch is the best communication”
Two little videos below which echo’s life thoughts:
SITUATIONS MATTER by Sam Sommers
Free Hugs in Sondrio, Italy
Do the things that make you Sparkle!
Struck a nerve, wanna delve deeper: