I am part of an online group where one of the assignments is a podcast episode Seeing White, Episode 8: Skulls and Skin. This podcast explores the use of scientific facts to support racist ideas. We see too many examples of the distorted use of “facts” to support narrow and harmful perspectives, to “prove” that one group is somehow inferior.
There are efforts underway to “deprogram” believers in conspiracy theories. It’s complicated. How do we notice and let go of our unhelpful attachments? How do we see what truths are important and reduce suffering in the long term?
Can’t change that…
With the expectation that the pandemic will subside quickly enough to allow safe travel this summer, I made flight reservations for our family with a large multinational airline through one of the many many travel websites. I was simply looking for the best price (and the prices *are* good!). My sister-in-law booked two tickets on the same flights directly with the airline. She was notified that our outgoing flight had been cancelled and changed her tickets for the day after our original flight.
I received no notification, a sign that the cut-rate travel website does not offer great customer service (an assumption I own). I called the airline. After having their phone system cut me off four times, I got through to a polite, cheerful-sounding customer service representative. I gave my flight booking details and was told, “…since you booked through a travel agency, we can’t change your tickets…”
I felt some anger, already irked that it had taken almost a half hour to be told this. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this customer service representative is not the problem. Even so, what I saw was that I had just been lied to.
Once I convinced myself I was not reacting to the anger, I tried to address the reality of the matter calmly. I said, “I know you didn’t set the policy, but it is not some cosmic truth that you can’t change my tickets; it’s a policy somebody set. Can you please find someone there who can make this change?” So, far, I felt I’d been nice, though I did cringe a bit when I added, “Y’all broke it, y’all can fix it.”
I was on hold about 30 seconds before getting confirmation that my flight was rescheduled. I expressed my genuine gratitude and reiterated my understanding that the policy was set by someone else.
I still felt yucky, and not just because of my snarky comment. And not because I had failed at my effort to eradicate the word “but” from my speech.
Why should I feel bad for pushing back on a corporate policy?
Should I have just said “okay” and spent untold time getting the “travel agency” to re-book the trip? Was it wrong to ask an employee to find a way around a policy set by their employer?
How high of a bar of “truthfulness” should we set? I’m sure there’s something in this post that would fail to clear where bar is set for some.
Can I let it go? Should I let it go?
People often hold on to lies to avoid an uncomfortable “truth.” All of us have an incomplete view of reality and we all act on misconceptions.
“Letting go is a practice; it’s an art. One day, when you’re strong enough and determined enough, you’ll let go of the afflictions that make you suffer.“*
May I, and all, not get attached to “fixing” all of the untruths while always attending to the suffering.