What Made Me Cringe Made Someone Else Dance

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A few days ago I left work with a terrible headache. I was also feeling irritable and just crabby, however I decided to get some fruit and a few other things at the store on my way home. When I got to the store, my headache intensified because there was live music (in a grocery store…I know!) and I thought the genre of music was very annoying and not pleasing to my ear. I walked around the store basically stomping my feet and throwing things into the cart and could not wait to check out. I quickly got a few more items and headed to the cashier.

The music seemed much louder when I got to the cashier and I said “geeze, that music is just making my headache worse!” To my satisfaction, the cashier said “me too, it’s so loud!” I paid for my items and when I began walking out, the person in front of me was walking quite slow. That intensified my irritability and I decided to walk faster so I could go around the person, and then I stopped. I noticed an older gentleman sitting on the side, on a chair with his eyes closed, dancing to the music in his seat!

As I looked at him, he seemed peaceful and full of happiness as he sang along and swayed in his seat. I smiled and thought about how annoyed I was and there was someone else enjoying the same thing that caused my irritability. What a powerful teaching moment that was for me.

Many times, we overlook how one experience can be embodied in different ways by others. In this case, the one experience of hearing this music felt uneasy in my body while it seemed to bring happiness and comfort to someone else! I was humbled by that brief and important experience. In life, we experience things through our own lens (eg., based on past experiences, current mood, etc.) and it can be easy to make a judgment about the experience through our lens. However, when we don’t take a moment to think about how someone else might view the experience, we stay within our own worldview with the same narratives on repeat. Now, this may not be the case in situations that expose one to danger or risk.

I’m grateful for the person who walked slowly in front of me as it gave me an opportunity to see this gentleman feel and experience the music in a pleasant way. While I still agree that I don’t like the genre of music, I have thought about what may have happened if I took a moment to listen to the rhythm, to move with the beat and allow the sound to be soothing as opposed to just seeing it as annoying.

What seems annoying to you these days? Is it possible (or safe) to see it from another perspective?

What can you do to see things through a different lens this week?

~ Karisse C

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