As a checkout operator working in a busy supermarket, one of the issues I am faced with on a daily basis is store theft. I spend a lot of my time in the assisted checkout area where customers are able to serve themselves; this is an area where this theft is rampant. I am learning to feel through a person’s body language whether or not there is any dishonesty in the transactions they are processing. This learning is constant for me.
Last year I experienced one of my regular customers (with whom I had been developing a relationship) stealing. There was a part of me that knew this had been going on but had wanted to believe otherwise. Now I had actually seen it with my own eyes, I could no longer avoid it. I plucked up the courage and followed her out of the store, asking her to come back inside. I showed her that she hadn’t yet paid for all of her goods and she began to argue with me.
When it became obvious that I had all the evidence to back what I was saying she quickly moved to anger, then rage, and before I knew it, she was screaming right in my face. It was a peak time in the morning so the store was full of people watching this woman, twice my size, hovering straight over me calling me every name you could imagine in a high pitched scream.
The woman left the store still shouting and I was left feeling very shaken, in shock and disbelief. I wanted to burst into tears but instead I held it all in afraid of what others were thinking of me. Of all the people that witnessed this abuse, only one of my colleagues approached to see if I was okay, whilst everyone else went back to what they were doing as if the incident had not even occurred. I mention this point here as I feel this blind eye approach is something that happens all too often in our communities.
Why is it that we ignore or turn away when a fellow human being has been hurt so? Could it be to avoid feeling our own hurts?
It took me a quite some time to work through this. Her words had had a huge impact and I felt deeply hurt by the way she had spoken to me. And being completely honest, I realized that I was in quite a reaction to her dishonesty in the first place. From this awareness, I could see that I have a need and expectation for others to be honest, and that whilst this is a trait that I value, I cannot impose that others live this. It is simply for me to choose to live it or not, and to allow others also this same choice.
Over the months that followed my relationship with this woman was anything but harmonious. Some days she would come in and scowl at me, other days she would smile sweetly, yet I could feel the falseness in all of it. I too was struggling; some days I would let her in and be able to be myself with her, and other days I would feel my body tense up on her arrival, shutting down and serving her very mechanically as if I were a robot.
Letting Go and Letting Her In
In the past few months much has changed for me in how I am approaching life and people. I have started to realize that holding onto or allowing myself to be affected by the choices of others does not serve me or anyone else, and the same goes for how I approach my own choices.
The Way of The Livingness teachings speak about self-responsibility, offering key tools of acceptance and allowing. Over the past few years, and with the support of these teachings, I have been developing my own understanding of what it means to be a truly responsible human being. I have come to realize that part of this responsibility is to become aware of where I am holding judgment or needing things to be a certain way.
From this new awareness in me I have been slowly building on a new level of acceptance and allowing towards myself, knowing that what is most important are my own choices. I have come to see that I have been imposing a whole lot onto others in wanting or needing things to be ‘honest’, of ‘integrity’, ‘loving’, ‘truthful’ and ‘harmonious’. And that these things are indeed simply a choice I need to make for myself, and not something I should be demanding of others, and then judging them when they are not met.
I can now see the huge pressure I have been placing on myself (and others) to live up to an ideal or perfect way of being, and not allowing myself (and others) the space and grace to make mistakes and simply be human. This has been a huge revelation for me in going forward.
In this short time I have noticed that my relationships have changed enormously. I am sharing much more of who I am with my family, work colleagues and customers (even my dogs) and it really shows. The feedback from this has been amazing as new relationships (and old ones) begin to flourish. Much of this is owing to the fact that in letting go of the judgments I have been carrying, I am starting to let others in once again, and to let myself out. I have reconnected to my very deep love of people and of humanity and this for me is everything.
This is a beautiful awareness for me to continue to unfold, as the more I let go, accept and allow things to be as they are, without judgment, the more I connect to a richness that is within and all around me.
Just the other day, the woman I spoke of above approached me in the assisted checkout area. As she walked up to me I could see that she was nervous about something. For a brief moment, I felt nervous too. But then I felt something else, and I allowed myself to stay open to her.
The conversation followed like this.
Woman: ‘I wanted to say to you that I’m sorry for how I spoke to you that time. I was going through a really hard time with …………., and I just wanted to say I’m really sorry.’
Me: “Thank you, I really appreciate you saying that, and I understand”.
Tears welled up in her eyes (and then in mine) and she responded with,
“And thank you for having the time to let me say this to you.”
Me: “That’s okay, you are worth it.”
I could feel how powerful this short conversation was for the both of us. It reveals the power of honesty, of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and of choosing understanding over judgment. Truly these are gifts from heaven.
I wanted to share this experience as I feel so many of us hold ourselves and each other to past choices that do not come from how we truly feel and who we truly are, and also because The Way of the Livingness and Universal Medicine have shown me another way that is true.
For me it is now clear that in order for us all to return to who we truly are, we must let go of our held hurts and judgments and approach life and people with honesty, acceptance and understanding. These are what make up the true integrity that is needed to really make a change in this world.
By Anna – dedicated and completely gorgeous woman + sassy checkout chic!