I was at the post office the other day and as usual there was a steady stream of people coming and going. I am always a courteous gentleman so I was holding the door open for the folks entering or leaving. I noticed some people responded with a thank you and some were in their own world oblivious to it being a human being holding the door open or automatic door opener! My first reaction was to feel a little sadden to how we have become an automatic society. How is it that we have become so automatic? An interesting question I think! My first thoughts were that it pertained to our living this very busy lifestyle, living in the new age of technology, or are we so into our own worlds that we forget about others? One of the things I’ve observed over the course of time is the reaction I get by holding doors open. They can range over any course of emotion from joy to contempt. I decided at some point in my life that it was the right thing to do. For me, it is a sign of respect for my fellow man. I’m a non-discriminatory door holder and could give a hoot about your age, gender, color, or religious affiliation, as my fellow man I respect you. Some years ago in my door holding life I decided to start my own little experiment with the endeavor. What I started doing is responding to the ‘”thank you” or the lack of a response! I would hold the door open and as the person responded with thank you, I would respond back with you’re welcome and leave it at that. The lack of any response, a nod of the head or grin will elicit a “You’re Welcome” from me anyway. I hope you get the picture as it plays a pivotal role in making my point. People responded in many different ways some with “I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention” to “screw you who do you think you are!” The greatest insight I have gained from this experiment is that if I choose to let the negatives influence my well being then I have given my purpose and joy away. I hold doors open not because of politeness or any ulterior motives. I hold doors because for me, it is the right thing to do and I feel better serving others. It about respect and caring for others, it’s what motivates me and it matters to me in a small way to serve others in this capacity. We live in this automatic world of expecting others to take care of the important issues so we can have our own personal “me” time. We don’t bother to get involved with this process which allows others to dictate and decide what we should and can get involved in and then we complain about the results. We come up with a million reasons about how it should have been done yet we did nothing to determine the outcome of these issues. We have lost of sense of individualism and self-determination; I call it the erosion of our self-image and expectations. We have succumbed and capitulated to an easy, let someone else worry about it, or I got mine so screw you mentality. The next time you want to see what it is about holding doors open I suggest you try it and experience the responses that you get. Don’t let it kill your spirit but use it as a gauge to view how others view themselves. It’s eye opening and rewarding and I pray that you get more “thank you” then “screw you” results.
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