We’ve all heard of instances in which a business takes a moral or political stand and refuses to conduct business with another company or individual because of the “nature” of that business or ideology. This happens all the time, sure, in the big business world of powerful corporations and politically driven organizations, not to regular folks trying to make a living.
Well, to my utter surprise, this scenario actually happened to my husband and I not long ago. We were having some “electronic world” issues at one of our clubs and requested some online assistance from our service provider. After placing the request and going through the routine of providing our business information, John received a message stating that due to the nature of our business (our swingers clubs), their company did not feel comfortable providing service to us.
I couldn’t believe it! This kind of stuff really happens?! Refused us service?! When John returned the call, he spoke with the gentleman who had left the message and it was then that we learned the refusal was based on the owner’s personal beliefs. You’ve got to be kidding me! I was in shock! I mean I know this happens, I’ve seen it happen, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.
My mind was a swirling tornado of haughty comebacks and negativity. This company and its response had really crawled up under my skin or as my dad used to say, “That really chaps my hide!” Their response had chapped my hide for sure!
But I knew being angry wasn’t going to change anything or get me anywhere. I knew ranting and raving and pacing back and forth waving my arms in the air and wallowing in feeling mistreated was only going to keep me stagnant. I learned long ago during my life coach training that when I come up against this kind of roadblock, there’s a lesson to be learned. This man and his beliefs were my teacher. What was the lesson? How was I going to take this situation and come out more empowered?
The first thing I had to do was take a deep breath. I needed to calm down and relax. Turning inward towards my feelings of mistreatment was keeping me from seeing the bigger picture. I couldn’t see past the nose on my own face, and I needed to see the panoramic view, no matter how much I wanted to feel justified in wearing my blinders.
I know my own belief system growing up was incredibly myopic. I was taught that there was only one relationship model and any deviation from that was, well it was considered a sin. So I can sympathize with this business owner’s need to live life within the confines and protection of his beliefs. Yeah, I get it, and I understand (and can even appreciate) staying true to your beliefs and morals.
I’m not, however, a fan of excluding those who don’t walk the same path. After all, everyone you come in contact with views life through their own kaleidoscope—a multifaceted spectrum of thoughts, beliefs and perceptions with no two completely identical. And this is part of the beauty of individuality, which we can miss when we’re leery of those differences. Why put our attitudes and beliefs side by side in comparison to someone else’s and focus on what’s keeping us at arm’s length instead of acknowledging our common attributes and goals: happiness, love and peace.
So what was my lesson? Acceptance. This was a reminder to make sure I don’t fall into the well of exclusion thinking that my way is the only way. I need to be open enough to appreciate the individuality of the world around me. I never want to only associate with those who are in 100% agreement with me. How will I ever expand my own belief system if I never allow myself the chance to hear a different opinion? No, I want to learn, even if learning means I might end up changing how I’ve seen the world my entire life.
Did we ever get the issue resolved? Absolutely! After contacting another company about our problem, they took our information, scheduled an appointment and fixed the issue. Did we voice our concerns about being refused service? Damn straight!
While the lesson in acceptance was powerful and helps me stay focused on being the best I can be, it’s also a reminder to speak up for myself. Others may not accept me and the lifestyle I’ve chosen, but that doesn’t mean I have to retreat into the shadows and let them make me feel like I’m anything other than a strong, hard working, loving wife and mother who just happens to be a happy and healthy swinger.