I loved this quote when I saw it “Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on.” Most days we judge a person within seconds of meeting someone. And that judgment sticks. Yet, we don’t take the time to understand who that person is beyond that moment. To understand the whole book.
There is a woman who works the front desk at the condo building I live in. I see her every Saturday, she is quiet and comes across a little awkward. And I always just said hello but never talked to her. Today I walked in and asked her how her day was? First time I have ever actually asked her a question. And she had the most interesting response. She basically went on to say her son had gotten hurt this morning and she was thankful that he didn’t break his back after an ER visit. And she went on to talk about living in the moment and how your attitude and behavior makes it a good or bad day. Not the things around you or that happen to you. Because shit is going to happen. It is how you react to it. She was inspiring and also intelligent. And she totally surprised me.
I went to a seminar awhile back called Life is Simple by Wyatt Webb. And the point of his talk was that life really is simple. Each day and interaction and situation you have with someone…you are 50% responsible. You own your reactions/behaviors and mood. So he gave the following advice around the formula of life: 1) Pay attention to what you think 2) Pay attention to what you feel 3) 1+2= behavior. And your behavior is 100% in your control. He also noted that anger is a secondary response to fear, shame, and pain. So be aware of this behavior and what you are thinking and feeling. Don’t lose who you are by not being in tune to the behaviors you are exhibiting. And to me this also means, be aware when you are judging, when you are upset, angry, sad, happy, joyful, etc. (basically all emotions and behaviors)…and figure out why you are behaving in that way. And if you need to change it. It is okay to be angry or in a shitting mood sometimes. It doesn’t mean you always have to have the perfect behavior or feeling or thought. But at least understand so you can change it when needed.
So as I think about my behavior and the interactions I have with people I know or even complete strangers, I am aware of the mood and behavior I am projecting. Sometimes it is in direct correlation to their behavior, sometimes it is because of something that is on my mind or just experienced, and sometimes it is very conscious. I am trying to be more aware of my behavior and how it affects others. I won’t say it is a strength. Like most, it is hard not to be self-absorbed at times. But I’m working on it. And with that, I am reminding myself through this quote, everyone is in a chapter of their life. Sometimes it is a good chapter and sometimes it is a bad chapter. It doesn’t make up their whole life/book. I’ve had my bad chapters for sure. College was a bad one. I was in tough place in my life and I wasn’t at my best. I had more bad than good moments. But I’m in a pretty kick ass chapter right now!
So give people a chance. And give yourself a chance beyond this one chapter. And in that be aware of the behaviors you give to the world so you are writing your chapter in a way you want. And also not repeating the same story chapter over chapter. Even if the shit is happening around you, you can still write the chapter with some laughs, smiles, and good moments through your reactions and behaviors. And then keep living one day at a time and the pages will turn. New chapters will come and focus on the future. Don’t judge yourself or others for the past or one moment on the page of life.