Bring Forth the Beauty in All Situations

It’s Mother’s Day today. I bought some flowers, breakfast items and boarded the bus to visit my mum. I spied an empty seat beside an aunty who looks like she was engrossed with typing an SMS on her phone. She and her large plastic bag occupied two seats, with the bag spilled over onto the side of my seat.

As I sat onto my seat, an uncle who was seated in the seat opposite to us took his umbrella to nudge the aunty’s bag and said, “you’re occupying two seats”. The aunty did not bother to reply the uncle and remained engrossed with her phone.

I could see the uncle getting increasingly upset, bless him. So I smiled at him and silently mouthed “thank you, it is alright”. The man seated beside the uncle saw my exchange with the uncle, and he smiled too. Then so did a few other passengers who had witnessed the exchange. The mood lightened.

My take on the situation was that the aunty was probably too engrossed with her phone that she was not even aware of the situation, that the bus had gotten crowded. And that probably explains why she didn’t even hear the uncle’s comment nor felt the nudge of umbrella. I could squeeze onto the seat so did not have an issue with it or I would have gently asked her to move her bag.

I was appreciative of the uncle’s sweet gesture and understood his perspective too. Yet I did not wish for him to have a lousy start to the day by getting overly angry. Glad my smile and thank you acknowledgement calmed him down.

After about 15 minutes, the aunty looked up from her phone and saw the flowers I had bought from my mum. She gave me a big smile and asked me if I would like another flower for my mum. Turns out she’s a volunteer and had prepared lots of flowers to give away (hence, the large bag). I thanked her and said my bouquet was enough. She smiled, wished me a great day and alighted from the bus.

When it came to my turn to alight from the bus, I thanked the uncle once more and wished him a good day. He smiled brightly.

The situation could have turned ugly. With me being irritated, a quarrel escalating between the uncle and aunty, and awkwardness all around for the rest of the passengers.

Instead, it became a pleasant ride.

The experience reinforced my belief in (1) the power of unconditional positive regards, and (2) the power of bringing forth beauty in all situations.

These are two behavious which I do my utmost to practice in my my daily living. They enable me to mitigate stressful encounters and be in control of my reactions and responses. They are also aligned to my work purpose as Dream Catalyst, to journey with leaders and teams to build great work cultures.

These are also behaviours which I encourage my clients to embrace in their daily work life. Imagine how much more engaging, life-giving and inspiring the workplace could be if more of us could practice seeking to understand instead of jumping to conclusions. If we could be more mindful of the impact of our words and actions, and choose to be more life-giving in each situation.