What was SHE thinking? What was I thinking?

The grocery store’s parking lot was packed today. Inside the store was just as crowded. My husband and I attributed the crowd to today’s televised football and baseball games. We decided the situation called for extra measures. The firewood, he would get. The sympathy card, I would get.

A woman had parked her cart right in front of the cards and was on the cell phone and oblivious to her surroundings as people with carts filled the aisle. Her conversation was emotional as she repeated her words, each time raising her volume. I circled the cart twice in attempt to seek her attention. Finally, her eyes caught my glare. She apologized and moved her cart up about three paces in front of more cards. ‘What if I need to look at those cards?’ I thought with a bit of an attitude. ‘Can she not see the traffic jam she’s creating?’

My attitude softened as I reflected on last Saturday’s events. My to-do list was long as I was preparing for the neighborhood’s block party. Our dog’s costume needed to be made and spray paint was in order. So I stopped at the paint store. The only clerk in the store was mixing paint for the only other customer. I interrupted their process by asking if I was in the right section for the spray paint. The other customer seemed a bit annoyed at my question. “I’ll be right with you,” the clerk said.

Their transaction ended and the phone rang. The clerk started helping the customer on the phone. I left the store without spray paint and wondered what my next course of action would be. I was making a beeline to my car – not really paying attention to my surroundings. The first customer was backing up and had to stop for me. I caught his glare. I apologized.

The two situations were different, yet really the same. The first woman was so emotional involved in her conversation, she was oblivious to how her actions were affecting others.
I, too, was so focused on my mission that I was oblivious as to how my actions were affecting others.

All things considered, these two situations were pretty mild – or were they?

In developing social competency skills, Dr. Saarni (a leading expert in social competency skills) suggest that eight skills are needed with one being aware that relationships are largely defined by emotional communication, emotional immediacy and reciprocity. For me, this definition includes ALL people we interact with daily. We cannot be socially competent if we choose to walk through life with blinders on as to how our actions affect others. We cannot underestimate the power of small, seemingly insignificant actions.

For me, I’m planning on taking my blinders off. What about you?

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About Tina Donovan

Tina Donovan, M.Ed., PC has dedicated her life both professionally and personally to improving the lives of children. From volunteering as a youth leader to developing a non-profit youth organization, her focus has been on providing opportunities to children enabling them to discover and develop their own unique talents.

3 Responses to “What was SHE thinking? What was I thinking?”

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