Do the Bump
We watch ourselves in airports. Everyone is carrying or hauling bags. I find myself saying “excuse me,” “sorry,” incessantly. Rarely does anyone get angry. It’s what is expected. We excuse the bag bumps in that setting.
But, as my husband was wont to say, we are all bumbling through life, halting, carrying our loads, bumping into each other on a daily basis. That was his way of imploring that we be kind to each other and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Assume no harm was intended, not the other way around. As we wield our loads, contact is inevitable.
So, what is in our daily “carry-ons”? The most common expressions we encounter as we travel this life are “someone stepped on my toes,” or “he bumped me out of line.” Or even egos get bruised and feelings hurt. Our portable appendages typically house our sense of self, both high and low. If we get bumped out of a position we believe we have earned, anger and even retaliation can ensue. If we are “put” in our place, we can feel undervalued, perhaps touching on the tenderness of our feared inadequacies.
I have had many a conversation with a young person, interceding when there is a perceived slight by a littler one. It’s easier to forgive babies, toddlers for poking, hitting, pushing, falling over us. We all acknowledge that they don’t have the control over their little bodies or even their emotions as they scurry about. No one can believe they are intending harm.
Perhaps that should be our guide for dealing with bigger folks as well. It’s rare that the comment, look, or even bump is malevolently motivated. Wouldn’t it be kinder to assume we’re all just bigger kids trying to get through life without falling down.
What would happen if everyone just giggled when someone’s bags, tangible or invisible, bumped ours? I have to believe we could avoid a whole lot of rage. So next time someone cuts you off, try picturing them in diapers and see if your heart doesn’t melt a little. I know mine does.