It was one of the small things that rang the bell in my head. I was just being helpful, or so I thought, but she didn’t.
I take my own bags to the grocery like so many of us. But irritates the checkers to change their rhythm of dropping things into the plastic bags. It takes them out of auto-pilot. So I’ve befriended my fav checker and promised her a prize for the most creative grumbling at seeing these odd sized canvas bags on the belt. She adjusted the straps and gets the bag set on the platform and I help by holding it open.
The other day we had gotten the bag situated and she started filling it with the bulky items. I noticed that one item could be moved to allow more items and adjusted it. “Don’t be touching things after I’ve bagged them!” she barked at me. I duly hung my head and apologized. It’s all a melodrama game we play. But it made me think.
How many times have I, in my attempt to be helpful, have I created more stress by removing autonomy in the way someone does their task? Why don’t others see that I’m just trying to “help?” Because my trying to ‘help’ is about me, not them. The best thing I can do is get out of their way and let them be successful. Or be just close enough to lend a hand when they need or ask for help.
Yes, my favorite checker did get the prize for grumbling. And now she grumbles bigger each time she sees me coming. Always with a big grin.