I was observing a couple on a flight recently… The wife took her window seat and I watched the husband board the plane shortly after her, showing a lot of frustration.
He approached the man in the aisle seat, with no explanation that the woman in the window seat next to him was his wife, and agressively asked “Will you swap aisle for aisle?” pointing to the husband’s allocated aisle seat two rows back.
Without giving the man much of a chance to respond, the husband dismissed him almost immediately because he’d seemingly taken too long to process the question. “Don’t worry about it” he said shaking his head and with more frustration he moved on to ask the guy at the window of the other row if he’d swap (again without explaining why) — that guy just straight out said no and turned away.
The husband began huffing and puffing in disbelief as he went back to the first guy to ask again — this time staring at him with his eyebrows raised while giving him a chance to respond, which of course ended up being a yes but with a lot of hesitation.
Once the seats were sorted, I watched the husband take his seat next to his wife with a relieved smile. He had no idea how he’d made the situation so much harder for himself than it needed to be. He wasn’t looking at it from anyone else’s point of view. His approach was so abrubt that naturally these people went into self-protection rather than empathetic mode. He was expecting kindness and understanding from others, yet not giving any whatsoever.
We are too quick to focus on how we are the victims of situations, failing to notice when we are in fact causing most of the hardship. If you feel like the world is full of rude and impatient people (for example) observe your own approach and see how that may be blocking the kindness you seek.
There is always the occasional bad egg… But in general, what we give, we get.