Each week I volunteer to serve stroke patients at Mackenzie Hospital. Though I truly appreciate this work, I get a little dis-heartened the mornings I walk into a room of physiotherapist and occupational therapists. In this room filled with 6 or 7 people, I can find but one pair of eyes to genuinely acknowledge my smile or my presence. I can find but another one or two faces to share a glance or a word that welcomes me into the room.
I walk out, a little less bubbly than I walked in. I then walk into a room with one or a group of elderly patients. I expect to be greeted with smiles and love, and I am rarely disappointed.
What Does it Mean When the Strong and Able-Bodied Lack Friendliness
Does this mean that many, who are so strong and able-bodied, are so preoccupied with themselves that they appear inconsiderate and mean! Maybe; or maybe it means something else. Perhaps it means that more often than I would like to admit, my expectations for the seemingly strong and able-bodied are too low, my compassion invisible, my smile barely noticeable.
Expect Good and You Will Create Good – Expect Bad and You Will Create Bad
With my expectations, I create my reality. Have I been helping to create a disadvantaged character of meanness for those who appear to be stronger, more able bodied than me? Can I not see that in many ways they are like me?
Though I flash a quick smile, I quickly hold my head down in worry about my disadvantages, leaving little time for them to see my disappearing smile. With my thoughts caught up in my must-do’s or challenges, I cannot notice their own preoccupations and needs. I do not let them know that I care a little about them. No wonder they live up to my low expectations. I am likely living up to theirs.
Change Your Perception – Change Your Relationships
I must change my stereotypes of those who are different from me. When I see others as mean, I limit the possibility of us uplifting, working or doing business together. When I see others as kind, I wait for and encourage their positive response to my greetings, to my presence. I open the door to impact, and be impacted by, their achievements.
I now ask you to reflect on another more pertinent question. What good do you see in those who are different from you, how can you help to bring it out, and how can this impact your achievements? I too will reflect on this, and share what I see.