It’s not every day that you get to have a little splash of self-actualization tossed in with your daily-routine salad. The moments that cause you to stop for a moment and ponder an action, thought, or idea, and arrive at the conclusion of striving to become better; it creates a system of growth and change for us impressionable humans. Being a major in psychology within my collegiate career, it’s also entirely possible that I geek out over these types of mental realizations more so than the average person; but who’s to say?
Today, wandering my way into the library on campus, I was following several feet behind a young woman. As she heaved open the giant metal doors, and stepped through the entryway, she failed to glance behind herself, and see if there was anyone else that might appreciate the gesture of holding the door momentarily. She did this twice, with both the outer set of doors, and inner set as well. I happened to be following at the perfect, undesirable distance, where the gigantic doors were able to pick up some speed before I would have to catch them, only to re-heave them open. Now, I completely understand and address the simple fact that the scenario I am spelling out is, without a doubt, extremely menial and deserves no real emotional response. These small interactions happen a thousand times a day, why should this one be any different?
My moment of reflection came immediately after I stepped foot inside the second set of doors. In my head, I had briefly thought: why wouldn’t she just hold the door for literally one more second? Is she so absorbed into her self that she couldn’t perform that one single gesture? Suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks: Christian, you’re doing the exact same thing. I hadn’t looked back, to see if anyone wanted the door held, like I had wanted; I had made this tiny, unimportant situation entirely about myself. I didn’t speak to the young woman, and I didn’t even see her face, but at that juncture, I was caused to think about my own actions, my own perspective, and how those faucets have an effect on the people around me.
Too often do we, as is the human condition, spend our time worrying about what other people are doing and saying incorrectly from our perspective; when maybe what we should be doing, is shifting our standpoint. Sliding on the shoes of someone else, and taking their point of view, takes the focus off the self, and allows you to be more aware of everything going on around you. While I’m no where close to being an expert at this skill, becoming a little less self-absorbed, and a little more socially attentive, is something that I enjoy striving for. Who knows, maybe tomorrow you’ll be the person who does something so small, so microscopic; but it might cause someone to stop and think for just one moment.
Oh, and you best believe that I held the door on my way out.