A few days ago, I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some random items before heading home from work. Okay, I really wanted one thing (and called ahead to be sure they had it) and then, well, I ended up buying more stuff than I needed. Anyways, the store was not really busy but with two cashiers on duty, it took a while. I approached one line which I thought was short and quickly realized there were 3 other people waiting in the isle for that same cashier. I decided to go around and join that line while browsing the items in the isle (that is how you end up spending more money, right?)
When the person in front of me went up to cash, I respected the physical distance and stayed at the entrance of the isle until it was my turn. A lady came walking up to join the line and stood right in front of me. She did not turn around to see if anyone was waiting in the isle. I waited to see if by chance she would turn around but she didn’t. Then something interesting happened. I wanted to say “excuse me, there’s a line” yet I didn’t. I actually froze in that moment while a million thoughts went through my mind. How could she be so unaware of her surroundings? I was a bit confused by the confidence she had to just stand in a spot, own it, and not look around.
I tried again to say “excuse me, there’s a line” and again, I just couldn’t say it. She went ahead to cash her items and still, did not look around or to the side of her. I found myself looking at her, figuring out the brand of clothing she wore and I made many assumptions about this woman, all because she occupied the space in front of me without looking around first. After she left, I went up to cash my items and thought about why I couldn’t say something to her. Was it really worth it? Why was this such a big deal for me?
Here’s the thing, this is a simple analogy for how things play out in life sometimes. Other people take control of situations or step ahead of us without our permission or without us being prepared for it. What do our actions (or reactions) in those moments say about us? In this case, I realized that I was actually uncomfortable saying something to the woman because I was worried that I would be judged as being “fussy” or “rude.” However, the truth is that I would just be sharing a fact that there was a line.
On my drive home, I thought about how different it might have been if she had just turned around, looked behind or to the side of her before occupying her spot. I kept thinking of the phrase “don’t forget to look behind you” as a reminder about a couple things:
- Looking behind you can mean taking another person’s opinion or perspective into consideration before making decisions
- Looking behind you can be simply that – looking behind you to see if you are actually standing in someone’s way
- Looking behind you can mean putting things in the past and still learning from those experiences
- Looking behind you can be a reminder to be compassionate toward others
- Looking behind you can be considering how your power or control may impact someone else’s life
- Looking behind you can also be a reminder for being aware of your physical surroundings to be sure you are safe, and
- Looking behind you can be you reflecting on your day/week/month/year/life to see what you have left behind and where you are heading
Have you been looking behind you recently?
~ Karisse C