Sticks and Stones...
There is something that has been bothering me all week. I know that in the grand scheme of things, it is not a big deal. I also know I am a serious over thinker. However, it is sticking with me like a burr in my britches, not really painful just annoying and agitating. It is bothering me enough that I feel like I need to address it, so address it I shall.
I know after working the restaurant industry as a kid, working retail as a young adult, and teaching for ten years that when dealing with human beings, you simply cannot make everyone happy. There will always be that one person who is impossible to please. I also know that for every fifty positive people I interact with, that one person who isn’t positive will stick with me. Perhaps this is my own character flaw.
The support, kindness, and positivity I have received with my soap and spa products has been amazing. I have met so many wonderful, encouraging, and supportive people. It truly has enriched my life and I love what I do. However, this past weekend at the market, I came into contact with that one person in fifty. That one person and her off hand comment has stuck with me all week.
An older woman approached my tent early in the day and I could just feel the negative energy approaching with her. She had an unpleasant look on her face, she did not speak when I greeted her, and she scanned my products with apprehension. I tried to remain positive and give her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she didn’t hear me with my mask on, maybe she, like me has a resting…unpleasant face…perhaps her look of apprehension is because she forgot her glasses and can’t see. She proceeded to take down her mask and randomly pick up bars and give them a good sniff. With each sniff, she made a yuck face and roughly put down the offensive bar. She then asked why everything smells like food? I told her they were my daughter’s creations and asked what scents she preferred. I was answered with her picking up another bar, sniffing it, making a yuck face, and saying, “Not that one!” At this point, I just wanted this interaction to end. She then asked how much are my soaps? I told her, she said, “That’s awfully steep!” She made one more yuck face and left.
Now dear reader, I know all natural, handmade, artisan soap is not for everyone. I also know that I should not be offended by a stranger’s comment. The truth of the matter is, I was offended and hurt…mostly hurt but then hurt turns to anger and then I am offended. I told myself, to consider this woman may be fighting a battle that I have no idea about…perhaps she got bad news, lost a loved one, isn’t well. I told my bibbed wearing buddy about it and then about my thought process. His response was, “or maybe she was just an a**hole. There are some people who are just a**holes, you know.” That didn’t really help me to feel better.
Now, I know I cannot control the actions of anyone else, I can only control my reaction. My reaction is to process in my head the value of my product and my mission statement. My mission is to give people a healthy, natural, beautiful, and unique product option by only using the highest quality, fresh, natural, local (when available), cruelty free ingredients.
I then process what makes my products special. We milk our own goats, by hand, treating them with love and care. We have the cost of feeding our goats an all natural diet, their health and wellness care, and veterinary visits. We source our ingredients locally when we can, supporting our local economy. We use almost exclusively women owned or family owned resources to help the small business owner and promote diversity in business. Our ingredients are all cruelty free certified. We are a company…a family…with a conscience.
What truly makes my products special is the amount of care, thought, and integrity that goes into them. I am passionate about what I do. I love what I do. These products are a reflection of me, of who we are, and our vision. That is why I am so hurt, I suppose. One never feels good about being undermined or unappreciated for what they do. I suppose, dear reader, that is the lesson. In an ideal world, we would all be appreciated for our unique, individual talents. Everyone would find value and see worth in what we do. Everyone would treat each other the way they want to be treated.
However, the reality is, it is not an ideal world. There will always be those who cannot be pleased. There will always be those who cannot see the worth or value of those around them. All we can do is try to be mindful of our reactions, our interactions, and our energy. For the disgruntled lady who thought my soap ridiculous, I hope things are going better for you.
For the rest of us, let us stay safe, stay smart, be mindful of what we are putting out into the world, and keep washing our hands.