Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to fly to Utah and meet up with my husband for a extraordinary few days. It was a dream. We celebrated my birthday, hiked, did some mountainside mediation and to got witness, and experience career milestones. I was *floating* the whole time.
I couldn't have been happier.
Unfortunately, those blissful feelings were stopped in their tracks very suddenly when I encountered a particularly interesting, rather unkind TSA officer at the Salt Lake City Airport.
I handed him my ID, and as he looked back and forth from that plastic card to myself, he said,
"You look better with glasses."
"Hold the phone. Excuse me? Where on earth do Y O U, a complete stranger, think it's appropriate to say something like that to someone. While you are working. To a woman with her husband right next to her. You don't know the harm that kind of comment could inflict on someone."
I didn’t say those things. Part of me still wishes I had. Instead of blurting out a bunch of anger and negative energy - I looked at him and said, "that was rude" then walked away.
Perspective is not easy to maintain, especially when emotions are involved. Think about every time you’ve been cut off on the highway, have been given an ugly look while grocery shopping or have been on the receiving end of an unsolicited, inappropriate comment from a stranger. Typically, all I want to do in those situations is *SCREAM* back, or mouth off with some attitude to let them know what they're doing is NOT o k a y. Emotions are strong in those moments.
But let me ask you, have you ever seen fire put out another fire? No. It just adds to the existing flame, building it up higher, and hotter - scorching more ground.
I've always been a big fan of the phrase "kill them with kindness." When someone treats you poorly, and you reciprocate, things get worse. When someone treats you poorly and you respond with love and grace, they feel that, and things begin to shift in a positive way.
Was the TSA Agent’s comment inappropriate? Yes. Is that person speeding down the highway acting irrationally and irresponsibly? Yes. But in these fleeting moments of anger and frustration, giving grace to those people is really the only answer. Who would have benefited by my outburst? No one. That person speeding off isn't going to see your middle finger flying high at them. If you cuss them out, or flick them off you're only casting negative energy on yourself.
It’s not our responsibility to clean up after people who act inappropriately. While sometimes it is necessary to stand up for ourselves or others, no good can ever come from reacting to a situation from a place of frustration and hurt.
We have so many people spreading hate in our world right now, it's our responsibility to spread love, kindness and forgiveness when we can.
When you are standing up for yourself or someone else who has been truly and terribly wronged, there is a place for anger. But there is also a place for grace. Knowing what situation induces which response, is the tricky part.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you can pick between responding with anger and negativity, or love and grace...choose grace. The world, and your soul will be better for it.
Love ya, mean it - Christina