Please tell me I’m not the only mom in the world that has their grocery cart look like the leaning tower of Pisa every time they shop! I have a problem. I admit it. I like food. I like to buy food. I like to eat food. I like to cook food. So, when I go to the grocery store, I inevitably encounter a lot of eye rolling and people that seem shocked.
I am used to people looking at me and my cart with that judgmental rolling of the eyes and surprise that anyone could possibly eat or afford all that food. Usually when they do that, I feel a little embarrassed. I used to take it personally and feel bad that I can buy all that food, when others are in line with their food stamps. I feel sheepish letting others see what I buy, even though my cart is about 75% healthy and 25% junk! (balance in all things, right?). I never want to shop during the popular hours, so as to not burden the others shoppers, who always seem to be in a hurry and can’t stand being stuck behind the likes of me. I usually go as early as the store opens and get out as soon as I can.
This cart doesn’t even do my obsession justice, but it has a story to tell.
As a student of personal development, I have recently learned that you must not allow other people’s opinions to take away your happiness and personal power. When we feel down or embarrassed, or hurt by what others say or do, we are allowing them to write our story and create our reactions to life. We are giving them control over how we feel, and they don’t have the right to do that. Only we can decide how we react to the events and people in our lives. We each have the power to take the reigns of our own story, and to not be offended when others judge us, bully us, or try to take our power. When we react in anger, fear, hurt, or blame to what others have to say about us, or to the eye rolling, we give them control over our reactions, rather than taking the control ourselves.
I have discovered that in order to not take things personally, you must find a way to see things from the others perspective, or perhaps take them out of their comfort zone.
Last week, as I was walking out of the store, trying to make sure the groceries didn’t fall out of the cart, I saw a woman headed my way. She had the look of horror/shock when she saw how full my cart was. Instead of looking away in shame and embarrassment, I put my new knowledge to the test.
I looked her square in the eyes and said, “I DARE YOU to beat me!” (meaning buy more groceries than me).
We both started laughing. I had managed to turn a situation that initially caused me embarrassment and dread into something that brought joy and laughter to another’s life as well as my own.
It got me thinking. How many of us respond out of fear or shame before a bully even has time to stick their nails in us? Why not react with love, kindness, and humor instead? I think when we can look at that bully squarely in the eyes and see where they are coming from and confront with not with fear, but with love, we will find we have absolutely nothing to fear.
Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to beat your enemy is to make them your friend.”
Try it, you just might get a kick out of yourself and brighten someone’s day!