I’ve been reading a lot of personal development books and blogs lately and recording my own daily habits, thoughts and feelings, and one of the things I have learnt that has had the biggest impact, is the fact that we cannot change other people, only ourselves.
Unfortunately I can’t remember the source of the following statement so I’ve put it into my owns words, but it goes a little something like this: ‘We cannot change the way other people feel, think or act. If they are happy, their happiness will radiate off them. If they are angry, their anger will radiate off them. It is our choice as to whether we let that in and absorb that emotion. If someone is hurt, stressed or in pain and they put that onto someone else, that is THEIR problem, not ours. We can do our up most to help them, but we do not have to feel the same feelings’.
For my full-time job I travel to different cities and towns on a daily basis and encounter hundreds of different people. As a ‘market stall holder’ (I’m a sales rep for an organic farm) you often need to speak to other people and ask them to give you a hand, usually another stall holder, many of which have been running their own business for years. Quite rightly so they know the trade very well, however you can imagine that some people only want the best for themselves and unfortunately have no intention of helping a newbie.
Last week I was in a new town and was struggling to find access to my pitch, so I asked someone for their help. Their response was more unhelpful than if I’d have just sat in my van all day and had a nap until it was time to leave. The day went on, I found my way and everything was absolutely fine…until I was back in my car making my way home for the evening and I remembered how the man made me feel. My heart sank and I started to feel angry at the way he had spoken to me. I mulled it over for at least 15 minutes, anxiety growing inside me. And then all of a sudden, I realised something. That mans harsh words were his. The grumpiness was all his. It wasn’t mine and I wasn’t going to share the feelings he had for a second longer.
We all encounter new people every single day, and in the professional world you have to be nice (maybe even in the real world too). Most of the individuals I have met recently have been wonderful. They are so full of knowledge, happiness and inspiration and I just want to talk to them and learn about their life all day long. It’s just the odd ones that you have to meet, accept and then move away from.
I’ve always been fascinated by other people and how they live their life. I would be the first to admit that I’m fairly nosy. I love to know what people do in their own time, where they work, what they have for tea, how they find time to exercise, read, write, socialise, sleep…you name it, I’d probably love to hear about it. I also love to photograph people and it’s something I should definitely do more of. Strangers fascinate me. I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop, listening to the music in the background, the smell of coffee beans in the air, and there’s a guy sitting to my right reading what looks like an ancient book, and I’m dying to ask him what it’s about and how come he’s not at work. If I had my camera (don’t say it, a real photographer always has their camera with them) and a little more confidence, I’d take his photograph.
I wanted to share with you a few of the different portraits of strangers I have taken – all of these people lead completely separate lives to me, but we crossed paths just for a few minutes of our day and I was lucky enough to capture that.