#3 of All the Things


The Stories Behind People’s Actions

One morning I got on the bus to head downtown and I passed a woman sitting on the outside spot of a row of two seats effectively blocking off the inside seat from anybody else sitting down. Sometimes these buses get pretty full and I was at first very annoyed with her. But then I stopped and thought that maybe there’s something else going on here. Maybe I’m wrong for judging this woman and I tried to think of it in a new way.  I thought maybe she was saving the seat for a friend. Maybe she is sick and doesn’t want to spread germs or she’s a germaphobe and was afraid of getting sick from somebody struck down by the plague. Maybe she has a social anxiety disorder that makes the possibility of small talk a certain kind of torture for her.

When we got downtown she got off on the very first stop and so I decided she didn’t want to have to say excuse me to a stranger because she has laryngitis, probably.

After work that day, as I was leaving the park & ride in my minivan, I saw a guy waiting to cross the street in a weird spot so I stopped to allow him to cross. He got very mad at me and waved furiously for me to keep going with a look that clearly said “Just drive all ready you stupid lady!”  I was not so nonjudgmental this time. This time, I was seriously pissed off. I said back to him  “I was being nice you jackhole. Don’t be such a dick!” the windows were rolled up so he couldn’t actually hear me but I’m sure my face clearly said something to that effect.  

That evening, my husband showed me a quote off his Facebook feed:


And I thought, huh. I did a pretty good job this morning.  The evening episode on the other hand was a total fail.

So, I decided to come up with another story.   Maybe he felt too rushed, and wanted to wait so he could leisurely cross when there was no traffic or maybe he had a PTSD episode and he remembered the last time he was run over by a minivan.  Or maybe he was a jackhole. Who knows? The important thing is that I considered that there might have been a perfectly good reason for the behaviors I witnessed that day.  Though these are minor offenses, I hope I can remember that when I run across a news story that shocks me. I can think about the other possibilities.  I can have compassion for somebody that makes a bad decision that ends in tragedy.  We’ve all made bad decisions.  We’ve all over-reacted at one time or another.  We all have regrets.  None of us are perfect.

This quote came from a new webpage that I now follow called Daily Stoic.  They have a lot of good stuff, you should check them out. The link goes to the starter page.  It has resources, exercises and interviews.  I think it would be a cool little “course” to go through with a small group online.  If anybody is interested, let me know and I’ll set us up a group on Facebook and we can talk about it.  I would totally dig that.

They also have a book that I haven’t read yet, but plan to check out.


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See you on Wednesday for another link to a great TED Talk. May your day be filled with compassion!

Question of the day:   What is your favorite quote?


7 thoughts on “#3 of All the Things

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I do the same thing, and I think about other’s lives when they react to things. I have a big heart that is always looking to grow, and learn how to be more loving; more like Jesus. I think it’s great that you shared this experience (it shows what kind of heart you really have) because I tend to think about these things, and experience them but not write about them. You’ve given me the inspiration I’ve been desperately needing. I, too often, get stuck in my head and write 10 articles a day in my mind, not sharing with anyone.


  2. Aloha,

    The fact that you took the time to wonder if your judging people was fair is proof your a good person.

    Id say at least half the people you meet are legit jackholes, so give yourself a break.



  3. You certainly never know the burdens people carry, you handled that very well, considering! Some people are just ugly attitudes, another saying grandpa used to say ” Ignore the ignorant”


  4. Great thoughts Marcie! I think we’ve all been in that situation where we do something totally out of character because we’re too overwhelmed with something else we’re dealing with to handle the present moment. And when people start judging we think to ourselves “you have no idea what I’ve been through today. ” Maybe when we find ourselves being the judge we need to look at the other person and say “I have no idea what you’ve been through today.”


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