Earlier this week, I stopped into a make-your-own burrito place for lunch. The lunch rush was building, the line was growing longer, but the space was small enough that you could interact with (and hear) those around you.
Even with a slew of burrito lovers, I could clearly hear the orders for the couple of those a few places after me in line.
It’s probably a good time to fess up at this point and tell you I’m a people watcher. I LOVE how we interact with each other, how we experience seemingly inconsequential moments and make sense of our world. (Because of this, I think I may be more attuned to what goes on around me. Although most days I wish I didn’t hear the conversations of others in restaurants when the conditions were like these, that day, I was humbled and happy that I did.)
Two women – perhaps colleagues, or maybe just friends meeting for lunch – followed me in line.
Their camaraderie and a sense of ease in the friendship was clear by how they engaged with one another. The first – let’s call her Ana – had never been to a lunch spot like this before, and the second – let’s call her Becky – was coaching her through the phases of building a burrito bowl.
With confidence, Ana selected her protein, rice and beans – the first phase of building a burrito; she was confident at the beginning of phase two, selecting pico de gallo (salsa fresca) and corn salsa, but then she was caught VERY off-guard.
“That’s LETTUCE?” she exclaimed. She could hardly believe it!
Romaine lettuce, which you or I may consider as a staple, was completely unfamiliar to her!
I could not believe it. In truth, my immediate internal reaction without any pause or conscious policing was totally judgmental, “this woman doesn’t know what lettuce is…”
But then, I checked myself, paused, and thought, wow. I live in a country where people aren’t familiar with easily available vegetables. There are people in our offices, communities, friend groups who wouldn’t recognize romaine lettuce. (Not to mention people who don’t have easy access to lettuce at all!)
Becky, aka woman #2, did not judge, nor give her a hard time; neither did the employee. The women moved through the line without further ado and then sat down, proceeding to take pictures of their food and enjoy their time together.
What an unexpected gift Becky gave to Ana, most likely without either of them realizing it.
In my head, here’s how it went: The ladies decided to do lunch. Becky offered up the burrito place; Ana had not been before and agreed to try something new.
A commonplace, banal scenario, right?
Here’s the Aha!
As a result, Ana stepped outside of her comfort zone, got exposed to healthier options, was able to speak up about not knowing and was still treated lovingly.
And all of this happened over lunch!?
My take-away was that it really is the simplest of actions and moments that build our friendships and our health, and in every relationship – or interaction – we have an opportunity to cultivate curiosity and turn away from judgment.
In any given moment, we could be either Ana or Becky in this scenario.
We could be the friend opening up another’s eyes to something different, encouraging another to explore, and, in the process, sparking a healthier lifestyle for her.
Or we could be the friend who is outside her comfort zone, hoping no one judges, feeling unsure and like we may not belong, surprised to find we’re surrounded by loving kindness.
Whether you’re Ana or Becky, you can show people what you like, who you are, what you value while also holding space to explore the same is where true change can start.
It may only take one small step to spark a larger change in our health, our homes, our hearts and our communities. Ana and Becky offered it to each other, and those around them are better for it.
What small change can you make today and who can you share that with?
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