I’ve worked in a customer service/ retail environment for many years; Needless to say, I’ve seen many different people, and experienced almost every type of situation you can imagine. I’ve been yelled at, had products thrown back at me, and had to deal with people storming away from what could have been a simple conversation with a very simple solution. Of all the people skills I have acquired during these years, the one I find most important and the one I continue to polish day after day, is patience. Being patient and compassionate toward the person who is shouting at you can be extremely trying at times. I have had situations where I had to bite my tongue so hard, I thought it may need sewn back on. Sometimes someone is standing in front of me talking in circles and yelling and I just can not wrap my head around how this person is not understanding what I am explaining to them or how they are not considering any side of the situation other than their own. These are the times when I have to back up and remember that not everyone is able to handle conflict or a break in routine the same way as me. Say there’s a series of hypothetical How to be a Good Person magazine. You may have read all the way up to Volume 14, sweet! The person in front of you may only be on the second volume. You may have a better understanding of the current situation because you remember something you read in Volume 9, you apply that knowledge, and you are able to move through a conflict or trying moment more smoothly. What you have to remember is that you can’t get angry or impatient with the other person because they haven’t read that far yet; they haven’t learned the lesson as of yet to get them through as easily. “They say” that there is a lesson in every situation and I truly believe that; but we have to remember that we may not always be the one who the lesson is meant for- sometimes we are the vehicle for the lesson to be learned by someone else. Those times when someone is standing in front of you spouting nonsense out of ignorance or misunderstanding, the times when you want to grab their shoulders and shake them to try and make them understand what you’re saying, those are the times when you have to remember the way to handle the conflict (because you remember taking notes on this in Volume 10). This is the time you can share your notes with that person and maybe they’ll be able to apply it next time. It is difficult- extremely difficult– to hold back what you want to say and instead speak with compassion and patience. We can’t make the world better by spreading what is making it worse. Be the light to someone who is walking through darkness, be the vehicle for the lesson they’re meant to learn today to make them think twice next time before reacting the way they have in the past. It may be what they need to pick up the next volume.