I recently went to get gas for my car and as I was pumping it, someone else at the gas station called out, “HEY SIR…” and proceeded to ask me a question.
I hate to admit it, but I automatically reacted to the word “SIR.” I turned around so the person who called me “SIR” could see me (and incidentally the scowl on my face too). The gentleman backed away and apologized once he realized I was a “MA’AM” and I was upset about this. He explained he called me “SIR” because I had short hair and that’s all he could see since my back was towards him. He apologized again. I softened, accepted the apology and answered his question.
Later on, I checked in with myself about my knee-jerk reaction to being called “SIR.” It was a mistake. Another person saw my short hair and I had my back towards him, pumping gas. He assumed I was a “SIR” because I had short hair. It wasn’t personal and he wasn’t hazing or harassing. He had a simple question that he wanted answered.
Fortunately, the interaction ended in a civil manner. Fortunately, it didn’t trigger me into wanting to grow my hair long. I like my short hair! Fortunately, I’ve had short hair long enough to OWN IT. Fortunately, the man apologized and I softened. What was my knee-jerk reaction about? Perhaps it was all the times I have been called “SIR” in a harassing and hazing way in the past and I reacted as if this was going to be more of the same. It wasn’t, so I was relieved and grateful.
CHANGE. This interaction was one where the person who called me “SIR” apologized. It was one where I was able to accept the apology. This is a good thing. It allowed for a healthy person-to-person interaction where two people were able to CHANGE perspective quickly and to pivot.
Has there been a time in your life where you’ve changed perspective or pivoted quickly? What was it?
Shay Vasudeva, MA (Psychology), MS (Kinesiology), NFPT-CPT, NASM-CPT-CES, THSA-CNT, and Tai Chi & Black Belt Karate Instructor, is also a Member of The Author’s Guild and Ambassador to the Phoenix, AZ Chapter. She is the owner and founder of ShayTheCoach and ShayTheCoachWriting, companies that help people become the best version of SELF by simplifying heady topics through the written and spoken word. She is an author, educator and international speaker in the wellness industry.
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