I came to a realization yesterday morning. I’m walking around the store in which I work and I feel the need to try to connect with customers, more so because they are people in need of help then the fact that they are people with money, at least that’s what I tell myself. See, them being paying customers doesn’t really benefit me in my current situation anyways. I don’t work on commission and I’m leaving my company and don’t really plan on coming back though working on developing sales relationships is a skill I will need to have at my future job. But, really I want to offer myself as a beacon of light, which sounds corny as hell but I guess it’s the best way to describe what I’m trying to do. I want to be helpful and I want to have positive relationships with people because I feel like humans are a great resource to have and we should all work together to make earth better!
At times this can be very challenging. Because I work in retail, there are moments when customers can be jerks but to be honest, this isn’t as frequent as memes on the internet like to point out. Most of the time they’re just confused. Spending money is scary for so many and they just want the help to know they are doing it correctly. Plus, more times than not the angry ones are coming from a position of pain or frustration and if they aren’t they are probably dealing with some extreme mental illness so I’ve learned over the years not to take these people’s issues personally, doesn’t mean I always succeed but it’s what I tell myself to do. Honestly, I feel like there are plenty of times that people who work in the business or any business really, are treated as the enemy and that isn’t really fair. But, I still take a fearful and defensive mindset when I’m around new customers despite not wanting to and I think I realized why.
For one thing, I mind read a lot. I assume every person I see is going to be one of the jerks so I shy away from helping them. Plus, I actually don’t have a lot of knowledge in the field I work in because a lot of retailers don’t really train so I am always afraid that the person I ask for help will figure this out and call me an idiot. And while there are some that will, their opinions of me don’t really matter and a majority of people are grateful that I took the time to try, especially if I try with friendliness.
Something deeper than just that holds me back though and that’s the thing I discovered yesterday morning. Because of my issues growing up, the bullying and all that fun stuff, I have always looked at myself as not being equal to others. With this viewpoint, I try to make up for this worldview with defensiveness and by doing other things to protect myself. Because of this, I look at every customer not as a person that needs help and not even as someone who will be angry because I know nothing, I look at customers as seeing me as subhuman so I revert to my withdrawing tactics around these people to protect myself from pain and judgment. Now that I realize this is so I feel like this will be tough to overcome but what I attempted to do was embrace that pain from feeling subhuman and immediately a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I became more open. The insecurity and withdrawing instinct did return but I continually tried to put myself in the mindset of accepting that I was feeling pain instead of trying to ignore it and I truly believe that over time, I will get through this withdrawing issue I have and I can be a better worker and more loving person.