Resetting the Default – Friendliness or Hostility

By W. Nicholas Abraham, Ph.D., LPC

Friendly? Or Hostile Universe?

As I’ve stated before, Einstein has been credited with saying the most important question to answer daily is whether we will view the universe as friendly or hostile.

I think of this question daily and am very comfortable saying that with all of the injustices that the universe may bring, I am best served – as is the world – by viewing it as basically friendly.

Since our presidential election I’ve become concerned about how we are approaching our common home and what we bring to our daily life.

Today, while shopping at Albertson’s, I walked up to the deli and stood behind a gentleman ordering. The server appeared fairly neutral in mood – doing her job, but with no smile. I smiled and asked if she had a certain type of potato salad – and asked forgiveness from the gentleman waiting on his order if he felt I was jumping ahead. He smiled back and said “it’s quite alright. We all need more patience these days.” The employee said she did have what I requested and I thanked her as I waited.

Suddenly, the employee spoke to a lady behind me and said “I’m coming ma’am – just as soon as I finish up this man”.

I was still clueless as to what was coming. After the employee gave me the order – I overheard her then say to the lady “now what was it you wanted?”

She angrily responded to the employee “I was ahead of him – and you know it.” I walked up to the lady and apologized for not realizing she had gotten to the counter before me. I could see the rage in her eyes and yet she responded, “it’s not your fault – it’s her” – pointing her finger with fury at the employee.

The employee looked at me and said “you’re good”.

Trust me I didn’t feel good.

I wanted to do an intervention and see how we might resolve this miscommunication between an Arab American, an African American and a European American. I paused and decided there was too much escalation already – and moved on.

You might read my descriptions of the three characters as a problem with my worldview – and that my language is an attempt at political correctness. But it is precisely the perceived reality of our nation – 3 differing tribes meeting up in a grocery store.

How shall we continue with this original experiment where we overcome any form of tribal mentality and see ourselves as American citizens?

You might consider this to be one anecdotal caption that should not be over-generalized – and maybe you’re right – perhaps I am overly sensitive.

But whatever I am, I think it’s fair to say we all need to calm down and give off friendly energy as well as look for it.

I hope this divide is temporary and that we become a friendlier universe – and that it begin with me