I was told these words of wisdom as a young teenager and understanding it has been a blessing to me.
A teenager and her mother stopped at a restaraunt in the middle of a long trip. The teenager was tired and hungry, the restaurant was empty, and the sign on the front desk said “Seat yourself, the waitress will be right with you.”
They saw the waitress standing near the back of the restaurant talking to the cook. The teenager and her mother sat in the first booth near the door. After a few minutes, the teenager started complaining that the service was very slow. After a few more minutes the teenager was accusing the waitress of ignoring them on purpose. The teenager’s face looked very angry.
The teenager was also confused by the calm look on her mother’s face. She appeared to be thinking about something different then the waitress and the service.
The mother looked at her child and smiled. Then gently said: “I don’t know why the waitress hasn’t come to greet us and neither do you. But I choose to think she has a good reason and I am waiting patiently.”
The mother then reminded her child to always be respectful and polite. After a few minutes the waitress came to greet them. She was very apologetic and said she hadn’t heard them come into the restaurant. She said she hoped they hadn’t waited long. The mother was friendly and polite. She told the waitress they hadn’t been there long and that they were fine. The mother then asked the waitress how she was and found out the waitress had been up late the night before caring for her sick child. The waitress proceeded to take their orders and provided the best service they had ever experienced.
The teenager felt sad and embarrassed that she had been angry when she learned about the sick child. When the waitress left their table the child asked her mother a question; How can I be like you mother? Your calm and wise.
The mothers reply was short and simple. She told her child to remember “It’s not always about you.”
There are many reasons people may be late or rude or in a hurry that have something to do with what’s going on in their life and nothing to do with you.
Their wife or child could be sick, they may have been fired, their car may have broke down on the way to work or ... the waitress may not have heard you come in.
Remember It’s not always about you.
I was told this story as a young teenager and I apply to this to situations I encounter frequently. This advice has made me calm in situations where others were furious.
It also has an unintended benefit. Life’s is full of situations where things don’t happen like they should or the way we want them to. But if my attitude is that a problem is not directed at me personally, but is a result of things unrelated to me, I don’t get angry and take it personally. The result: it doesn’t ruin my day. I still have a great day.