A woman sat in the salon chair examining her newly dyed locks when I walked in for my hair appointment. “It’s too yellow,” the woman said to the salon owner, Jill.,” “Some people like it this yellow. If you don’t like it, we can tone it down,” Jill said.
Jill walked the woman to the shampoo bowl and put a product on her hair. Within minutes the woman said, “My scalp feels like it’s on fire.”
Jill responded, “There’s nothing in this that would burn your scalp.”
“My scalp really burns,” the woman repeated.
Jill reported the formula’s ingredients and again said, “There’s nothing in this that should cause discomfort.”
After the third go around of the woman expressing her scalp pain and Jill saying it shouldn’t be, Jill rinsed the formula out of the woman’s hair.
It was interesting to watch Jill argue with reality. Whether the product should or shouldn’t have made the woman’s scalp burn was a moot point. The woman experienced a burning sensation from the product. Yet Jill continued reciting reasons why the product couldn’t possibly burn the client’s scalp.
The exchange struck me as amusing because I am no stranger to resisting reality. Whenever I think something should be different than the way it is, I’m having the same tussle with reality as Jill had with her client’s experience.
The incident proved a timely reminder about the importance of showing up with whatever the moment presents. The external reality may or may not be to my liking. I can always choose my focus, however, and take the opportunity to ask what it is I want and who I want to be in that situation. Given the answers to these two questions, I can then choose my response.
How do you respond proactively to an undesired ‘reality’?