“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – Jung
That quote is on my fridge. Along with my, “if it has tires or testicles, you’re going to have trouble with it” magnet. The former is a bit more food for thought than the latter.
Its a heady thought. Each person you come in contact with is affected in some small way, even if unintentional. Your co-workers, your family, your friends, your snowplow guy, all minutely transformed by knowing you. Whether that’s a positive or a negative is not the point…the point is that the reaction occurs simply by the interaction. Simply by you being there. Doing what you do. Being who you are. The closer the relationship, the more intense the reaction.
You would hope that the reactions you spark are positive, but you can’t control other’s realities. Only your own. But simply being aware that your actions affect others lends itself to acting in a more positive manner, creating positive responses, and allowing those responses to continue to react down the line, like an electrical current.
I saw that on Christmas Day, skiing with David. Littered about a flat cat track, frustrated snowboarders were struggling to keep going, many having already unclipped to shuffle their way along until a blessed downhill appeared like a mirage in the desert. David stuck out his pole and offered it to one of the guys who smiled broadly and shouted out a grateful, “Merry Christmas”! Which made everyone smile a little bit. A ten second interaction, almost insignificant. David probably felt good about uncluttering the cat trail, the snowboarder was thrilled to have a little drag across the flats, and I was struck by how such a simple act makes one’s heart feel a little fuller.
I saw it again with other stranded snowboarders throughout the day, and again during a post-ski grocery run. Inside the main doors, a simple entry rug was tripping up everyone who dared push their cart over it. David simply bent down, straightened it out and we headed up the produce isle. Simple, yet none of the twenty people in front of us had thought to take the three seconds to fix it. They simply tripped and moved on, figuring ‘someone else’ will fix it.
On a more intimate scale, that graciousness, creates a reaction in how I view David. It affects what I think about him, and how I feel about him. It affects my expectations of how I anticipate future interactions. It also creates a reaction in myself. By becoming aware of that spark of selflessness, or graciousness, it makes me aware of the times I haven’t been selfless or gracious, sparking a desire to remember to look outside myself when interacting with others. Remembering to recognize that simple truth that my actions affect others, no matter how small.
Transforming my intentions and my expectations at the same time.
We’ll discuss the tires and testicles next blog.