A Lesson in Everything

This week, as I was driving home from an appointment, I got a hankering for a salad and a slice of vegetable pizza. I pulled into this small restaurant and walked in to a fairly empty dining area. I sat in a booth totally away from the only other couple in the place. I loved that it wasn’t lunch hour, as I wanted to do a little reading while enjoying the quiet.

In walks an older couple, who proceeds to sit right behind me. Now, this may sound a little (or a lot) judgmental…but with twenty other booths and tables empty, why in the world did they need to sit in the one right behind me? Those were the thoughts and feelings swirling around in my mind and through my body. Yes, I was aware that my muscles were tensing up, my breathing became non-existent, and I was truly irritated.

Did they do anything wrong? No. Did I own the place? No. Did they have every right to sit wherever they wanted? Yes. Was I taking their actions personally? Yes. All these thoughts and feelings were a result of the fact that I thought they should sit elsewhere. Is that right or wrong? I do not know.


The story gets better. The woman, now sitting within ears-reach of me, proceeds to chomp on her extra-crunchy potato ships and with each crunch I could feel my body tensing. All I wanted to do was eat my lunch in peace. I do not like it when people chomp on their food and speak with their mouths full. This is just what she was doing. Thank God my back was to them so they did not see my involuntary eye rolls. Then, the lady begins to tell a story. She must be hard of hearing, because she about blew my eardrums out. Not only was she speaking loudly and with her mouth full, she was dropping the F-bomb every other word! Yes, a sweet old lady!

As I sat there, with all of my senses being assaulted, I began to leave my body mentally. I put into practice what I always preach. I do not know this lady’s past. Maybe she can’t breathe out of her nose so she needs to chew with her mouth open. Maybe her day was so bad, that the only way she knew how to express that was to throw the F-bombs about. Maybe they sat right behind me because I was sitting in “their” booth. Who knows why these people stumbled into my path. As I sat there, I just knew there was a lesson in here somewhere…why else would they choose to sit there??

As I reflected on this situation, while trying to block out the noises, I learned that I need not judge. I learned that I need to be more tolerant, or get some ear plugs. I learned that people can sit wherever they want and I need to respect that. I learned that maybe I was irritating them just as much as she was irritating me. I learned that people run into our paths for a reason, and if we look for ways to learn and grow and love…then we all win!

Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s find the love and the lesson in our little irritating encounters. Let’s be an example of love and tolerance, and give some grace. Let’s try to think outside our little egocentric bubble we tend to live in.

Because Together is Better,


  1. I can totally relate Deanna! This has happened to me way too much. Thanks for reminding me that it’s not always about me. Stopping by from Blogformatting.

  2. Deanna, I was laughing as I read your story because I would have had the exact same thoughts going through my head. I would have been making the same faces and my body would have also been tensing up. The only thing that I would have added would have been a loud, heavy sigh. Then I would remind myself that I cannot control everything 🙂

    Rachel recently wrote Using the Oreo Cookie to Get Clients

    • Rachel, your reply made ME laugh. I sometimes sigh, but that always makes me feel a bit passive-aggressive, and I do not like how that makes me feel. Thanks for the smile, -Deanna

  3. I recognise myself in your story, and i t reminds me of a story Wayne Dyer recounts too. Compassion I an finding increases as we become more accepting and see thongs without judgement- not always easy 🙂

  4. Oh Deanna, this is such great advice. I could see you all the way through it and the old lady too, chomping and cussing and just making life a little unbearable. We can only control ourselves. We have no control over anyone else and the sooner we learn this lesson the easier our lives will be. So why can’t I seem to learn that lesson? I’m 55 and still trying to control things I have no control over. Anyway, your piece made me realize, AGAIN, that this is what I need to do. And if I can’t always accomplish this, I need to strive to do it. Thanks. I enjoyed reading.

    • Linda, I just love your comment! We all have lessons to learn and things to work on. I love that you are willing to continue your journey to greatness! -Deanna

  5. I read on the internet the other day that phobia of noises like eating and breathing is actually a real brain disorder but I can’t remember what it was called … I only know that I have it! I would have had to have walked away! xxx

    • Denise, that is funny! I am not sure I have a phobia…but I really don’t like hearing what is going on in other people’s mouths. 🙂 I appreciate your comment and the laugh! -Deanna

  6. What a great story – who hasn’t been there, judging other people? But what’s so great is that you were able to recognize it in yourself and practice compassion towards all involved (including you!)

    • Thank you Jo! Yes, I think we have all been there…and it makes all the difference in the world how we react! Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  7. What a great story and reminder to tune things out, especially in situations like this. I have three kids and I have trained myself to tune things out when I really need to.

    • Jennifer, tuning things out is a good thing at times. Ignoring and stuffing is not good when there is growth to be had. Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  8. It is funny because as I was reading your story, I was thinking I could relate, but I felt guilty for relating because I would wish I would not think that way, but you showed that it is human to do so. I like the way you handled it and the way you changed your outlook to thing more positive:)

    • Thank you so much Daniele! I love that you felt different emotions while reading this post. Stirring up emotions is growth! Thank you for being here! -Deanna

  9. “if we look for ways to learn and grow and love…then we all win!” It seems as if it is the human condition to judge, to think that we are “right,” and that others are “wrong.” Which just goes to show that our Creator DOES have a sense of humor; i’m sure our frustrations make for great entertainment. Blessings.

    • Barbara, I love your wise words here. Yes, we do think we are right. Whatever is true for you, the opposite is true for someone else. If we keep that in mind, we will all be happier! -Deanna

  10. Glad to see by the end of the story you learned to adapt and adjust to your situation. Keep it up!

  11. this is such a great story and i love the way you tell it and always look for meaning in your life.

  12. Oh I so love what you said about people coming in to our path for a reason. We can learn from everyone and every situation if we are open enough to do so. Great post.

  13. I like that you ask for grace…it is so important to have! I am thankful for it!

  14. Oh Deanna! I totally saw myself in this post today. I would have been so annoyed to the point of maybe saying something to “the sweet old lady”. I love how you exercised restraint and chose to see the positives in this situation. Great post as always

    • Thank you Veronica! Like the title reads, we can learn from each and every experience…if we are open to it. I am so glad you are here…thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  15. This is a great story, thank you for sharing with us. I know it is not the restaurant but I HATE when people come to the movies and talk, in the last month I have had to go ask people (on the other side of the theater) to please be quite. It amazes me that you cannot even go to a movie anymore and have silence:) Tolerance is great but sometimes people need to be more considerate:)

    • Amen to that, teresa! Our culture is so full of “tolerance” that basic courtesy is rapidly becoming a vanishing virtue!

      • We must teach courtesy to our children. But this proves my point as well…if I was rude to this woman who was being rude…what would that teach? Food for thought. -Deanna

    • Teresa, I agree, that people should not talk in the movie theater. I agree that we need to be tolerant and polite…but there is a fine line. Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  16. You know what I can’t stand? When I am in an empty public restroom doing my business in the farthest-end urinal and some yayhoo comes strolling in and proceeds to use the urinal right next to me! I mean what is up with that??? Talk about invading personal space!

    To show my “appreciation” for their unwelcome intrusion, I like to casually turn toward them and strike a conversation…. before I complete my current task – if you catch my meaning. That seems to get my message across pretty succinctly.

  17. I’m a Leo and we’re supposed to be judgmental… I can see that. I also know that I’ve mellowed over the years. I’m not sure what I would have done if that happened to me. It would depend on what I wanted from the experience.
    When I had a foreign exchange student from Germany living with me a number of years ago we went to the movies. She remarked that in the US when people who into a movie theater, they sit far away from one another, while in Germany, they sit close to one another. Who knows the background of the people who came into the restaurant that day and what made them sit closer to you rather than further away.

    • Meli, this is interesting, because we must also take into consideration that people have different culture backgrounds. This may explain the behavior of some people. I love that you think you are supposed to be judgmental, I am married to a Leo! 🙂 -Deanna

  18. Good observation about tolerance. I think about this often when I’m driving. People will cut in front of me or not use their blinker and I start getting annoyed. I decided last year that I would not judge other drivers. And, I would stay calm and only worry about my own driving and if someone affected me directly. I enjoy being on the road much more than before.

    • Deborah, that is a very healthy and powerful decision you made last year…I an glad you are now enjoying being on the road more…a simple mindset shift is so powerful! I am glad you are here. -Deanna

  19. We are always learning, it is a baby steps, but always moving forward….toward the Light!!

  20. I think they invaded your personal space, and that can set anyone off. I am glad you looked for a lesson to learn and, no we do not know why those people did any of those things, but we all must deal.

  21. Many of us are used to our personal space and that’s okay. Thank you for sharing!

    • Jim, personal space is good, but I have found that people have different ideas of what personal space looks like. That doesn’t make them bad, just different. Thank you for being here! -Deanna

  22. Jeff Brand says:

    I have to say that would have driven me crazy as well.

  23. Stephanie Clopton says:

    I’ve had this happen and really just stewed as to why by me when I need quiet to gather my thoughts. Thank you for helping me deal with these situations. It’s not like a park, where you can get up and move without being rude. Great post!

  24. This is such a great story about how we need to overcome obstacles!

  25. I would have moved my seat to a location where I could have continued eating and reading in peace. Simple. No harm, no foul. Live and let live…she could continue chomping and spewing the f-bombs and I could relax. No need to be in the same proximity with an almost empty restaurant. I love you, Deanna. You are such a good person!

  26. haha.. i am like you in that way.. when people chomp, or slurp, it gets me so crazy i have to leave.. i had a situation like that, and the people kept on hitting my seat.. I eventually had to get up and leave cause i didnt want to cause a scene..

    • I would have moved seats Robert, but I didn’t want to seen overtly rude. There is such a fine line. I am glad you are here, thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  27. Dov Shapira says:

    Now now Deanna.
    Say, you are at a playground in a park with your child early on a Saturday morning and no one else is there.
    Now, another mom shows up with her child and she chooses to park her butt a way from from you, How would that make you feel?

    I would take it as complement when people feel comfortable to sit by me

    • Dov, you are awesome! I agree, that at a park, I would tend to be more social…but in a restaurant, you do not socialize with others. Maybe if you are sitting at a bar during Happy Hour?? I like your spin, that people sat by me because they felt comfortable to do so, I really like that! -Deanna

  28. Great story! (and moral) Life faces us with obstacles and it is up to us to choose the path we walk. I am sorry you had to sit through the obscenity and loud chewing (something I can’t stand as well) but it made you a better person.

    • You are right Rachel, it made me a better person, because I stopped and thought about the lesson in it. It could have made me more bitter if I let it. Many lessons here. Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  29. Live and let live. Such simple words, so powerful, and so fucking hard. I totally get it about the couple sitting too close to you in the restaurant. I get so bent out of shape when I go to the movies by myself and someone wants to sit next to me. Seriously? Can’t you tell that the empty seats all around me are empty by intention?

    You make me smile at myself. And hooray for self-compassion.

    Thanks for this, I appreciate you!


    • Sue, your comment made ME smile! I love that you threw the f-bomb in there…so clever! Yes, we need to smile at ourselves and have self-compassion! I appreciate you being here and sharing your wise words! -Deanna

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