Monday, December 3, 2007

Holiday Gilt Guilt

Yesterday I headed out in the sleet and rain to do some holiday shopping. The parking lot of my destination store is always an over-crowded mess, and the foul weather had not deterred any of the usual hoards of shoppers. The parking lot was mayhem. I nonetheless headed down an aisle quite close to the entrance, and was rewarded for my optimism by the wink of back-up lights from a truck in the 3rd parking space from the door, on my left. Primo! No other parking vultures in sight, I hit my turn signal and gave the truck plenty of room to back out. As the truck cleared the space, a sedan rounded the front of the aisle, facing me, and it immediately headed into MY space. Whoa there! I tapped my horn lightly and indicated to the driver of the sedan that I'd been waiting (okay, for all of 5 seconds) for that space. He backed off and let me in.

The guilt comes from the fact that all this time there was another perfectly good space on my right, 5 spaces away from the entrance (and a little farther away laterally). The driver of the sedan grabbed this space, so he was not terribly inconvenienced by my stubbornness. So why do I feel like a greedy, selfish person for insisting on capturing the better of the two excellent parking spaces?......


Anonymous said...

Good grief, Ruth, let the guilt go! First, there's no reason at all to feel guilty. By the social guidelines of polite society, you had claimed dibs on that first parking spot. The other car acknowledged your right to it by backing off. Proximity of another spot has no bearing on this. Had you ceded and allowed the other car to "your" spot, you might not have made it to the 2nd spot before someone else came along.

I learned something a couple of years ago that has helped me drop alot of guilt. Guilt is basically a judgement against your self. When you feel guilty, you being judgemental to yourself--you "should" have done something else. There are no "shoulds", "have tos", "musts" in life. Everything we do is a choice. You made the choice to claim that parking spot. That was your choice. Guilt is pointless because you made the choice, now you're essentially second guessing yourself. So, cut it out. It's a waste of energy and only serves to keep us "stuck". :-)

Why is that women feel guilty when we stand up for our rights? I don't know of any man who would feel remotely guilty for doing what you did.

There have been a series of informal studies done that GMA has been reporting on. First study: two applicants for the same job, one male, one female. Identical resumes. Both were coached on what to say to standard interview questions so that everything would be equal. Across the board, the people conducting the interviews thought the man was well qualified and able to perform the job. THe woman however, was "judged" to be agressive and that she overrated herself and her abilities. :-(

The one that I just heard this morning made me even angrier. Now there are 3 applicants, 2 females, one male. Again, identical resumes and coaching on answers. The one difference between the two women was that there was an additional section in her resume that showed her to be a "nurturing" woman. Again, the man was considered competent, someone that the interviewers would want to work for (this was a management position they were applying for), someone who would help his staff to get ahead. The non-nurturing woman was considered demanding and aggressive and deemed as probably not being supportive to her underlings. The third applicant, the nurturing woman, was rated closer to the man, someone who would support and help her staff to grow. So, somehow having that nurturing quality makes women less agressive and less of a threat.

Why this rambling? You're judging yourself as being aggressive and selfish, when really you were simply being assertive. Something that any man would have done with no remorse. Had a woman done the same to you, would your thought have been "what a *itch?" And, if a man had done the same, what would you have thought of him?

Just some things to consider during this mad holiday season. And, obviously, a bit of a soap box for me!


Anonymous said...

Another thought to consider--had the driver of the other car been a woman--would you still feel guilty? :-)