Choosing Ease Can Make Someone’s Day a Little Lighter
Our words and actions can make or break someone’s day. If you have the choice, choose to make someone’s day a little lighter by offering a sense of ease.
Jan 15, 2023
During a bout of anxiety, indecision, and residual overthinking, my friend said, “Relax. You’re not making this decision out of malice. You’re making this decision for your self-interest.” I felt an instantaneous release of anxiety from her words. It was a reminder and reframe that I needn’t feel guilty about choosing something that’s right for me. Afterall, if we don’t choose what’s best for ourselves, there’s no guarantee someone else will. Bringing ease into someone’s life is a gift. A goal that was quickly added to my growing list for the year.
Because I love definitions, “ease” as a verb means, “to make or become less severe, difficult, pleasant, painful, etc.” Each of us has the power to ease someone’s pain, worry, anxiety with just a few words and a subtle shift in perspective. It almost feels like magic. The visceral response I experienced when my friend reframed my situation certainly felt like magic.
In the inverse, we also have the power to aggravate, disconcert, stress. There are those that want to instigate, who thrive off their power to ruin one’s day. One of our regular waitresses, Nancy, at our go-to hangout told us a group of older men came in the weekend before and asked for a round of Modelo Negra, a typical Mexican lager. When she came back to offer the men a second round, she asked if they wanted another “Negra.” One of the men replied, “Did you just call me a n****r?” Nancy didn’t know how to reply but tried anyway, “Oh no, my bad. I asked if you wanted another Negra, the beer.” And, this guy responded, “I’m not a n****r. You’re a n****r.” She told us this story with a laugh to minimize the fact when she heard someone ask for a “Negra,” she felt triggered. She remembered these racist men being unashamedly racist with the sole goal not only to set her at unease but to disturb and to harm.
People say, “Sticks and stones,” but I still remember when I was 13 and some boy called me ugly. I remember my aunt, my dad’s own sister, tell my mom just hours after my dad died that my dad was in hell because he didn’t go to church. I still remember a houseless man calling my mom and tía “stupid f****ing Mexicans” because they didn’t have any cash to give him. Just like Nancy’s heart will momentarily race when she hears someone ask for a “Negra,” something that’s bound to happen multiple times a day every day she works, reminding her of these racist men. And, what else could I say to Nancy but, “I’m so sorry you went through this,” a flimsy attempt to put my goal to set others at ease to practice.
If someone can put me so at ease with words, it’s hard to believe something like what happened to Nancy doesn’t cause permanent breakage somewhere on the inside. Words are not just some elusive things. They bury themselves inside the body with the power to heal, to create, to damage. I know I can’t undo the unease and harm others experience, but the little I can offer is a sense of ease whenever possible. So, every day I make a choice to choose ease.