It started with my niece. I was in a store and tried on a beautiful pair of brown flats. I liked it, but I did not want to buy it. My niece said “I like it better than the ones you are wearing.”
When she said that, I felt really hurt, and became self-conscious. I was wearing a pair of sandals, which not only does a good job of helping me walk with my disability, I love it. So I told my niece that her comments were hurtful. Unfortunately, my making her wrong only served to make the air between us as thick as mud.
Later that day, I listened as a family friend chastised my unmarried brothers, for not giving my mother any grand kids. Like a ferocious predator, I jumped into the conversation and blasted him for not mentioning what I believe should come before kids, which is marriage or a committed relationship. That brought us into a long discourse of making each other wrong.
As a result of these incidents, I have decided to make people right. The alternative is to make people wrong, which kills off loving conversations and friendships in a world where building strong relationships are essential to personal happiness and successful living.
If I had a do-over with my niece, I would say “I like the shoes too but it’s not feasible for me to buy it right now. With your fashion sense, perhaps you can show me how to make my sandals work better with my wardrobe.”
With individuals like my family friend, I will work on keeping my mouth shut, so I can appreciate the value of what they are saying. If I add anything, it would be to ask a question, such as: “where do you think marriage and commitment fit with having kids.”
I used this more positive way of being today. On my way to the gym, my Mobility driver took me 30 minutes out-of-the-way to drop someone off. In my head, I was drafting the complaint letter I would write to York Region Transit, and I was ready to mouth-off to the driver. Then my heart said ‘make people right’. So I emptied my mind, kept my mouth shut, and gave thanks for my ride. As a result, I had the most uplifting spiritual conversation with the driver.
‘Making people right’ works!