Kindness, Attention, Respect

I went to a routine medical appointment yesterday. The woman who was taking care of me said, “Thank you for being so pleasant! That’s been in short supply here today.”

Her comment surprised me (I think I’m an average amount of “pleasant,” as a person), and I asked what had happened. Without getting into details, she said, “Well, I know I’m not running an ice cream stand here, but people have really been complaining a lot; they’re giving me a tough time.”

This woman is a medical professional who has been doing her work for decades. It was clear from her description that the behavior she was experiencing wasn’t “I’m here for a test and I’m really worried about the possible outcome,” it was just pure orneriness.

Like I said, I don’t think I’m some ray of sunshine brightening the life of every person around me. But my regular-style engagement with her provided a welcome change from what was happening in her day, and that makes me a little sad.

What does it take to show up with a pleasant attitude for a few minutes, and to interact with another person as if they deserve your attention and respect? Surely that is the least we owe to each other.

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