To me, the word “hello” is a big deal.
I was at the store the other day and I encountered three different people I know. I encountered them, but shamefully, I did not say hi to any of them.
I don’t know if it was because I had just come from the gym and thought I looked sloppy, or I thought they didn’t remember who I was, but, for whatever reason, I did not exchange any acknowledgment of recognition whatsoever.
I’m still working on integrating my self into the area, so when I left the store I found myself thinking about the fact that I didn’t say hi. It seems trivial and over-analytical, but I felt bad that something withheld me from saying something so simple to these people I knew.
But, is “hello” really that simple?
From a basic standpoint humans are social beings. We run in packs and move in herds, and really put a lot of emphasis on being accepted in society.
When a person is not accepted in society, they either find another crowd to run with, or they develop intolerance for the society that kicked them out. However, even when we are faced with individuals who want to lash out on society we still don’t really bend the rules.
Think about jail. It is like an extreme time out. It is a time when the natural human comfort of being with people gets taken away. The criminal has to understand how it feels to be shunned and alone until they are willing to play by the rules again.
A “hello” is acknowledgment to another person that they are a part of your society, and with that comes reassurance that we are a part of something together.
Hello is not just hi; it is an invitation. If I say hello to you, and you say hello to me that means we have just agreed to be a part of each other’s community.
The truth is I didn’t say hello to my grocery store people because I was too hesitant to extend an invitation What if they did not recognize me so they didn’t say hello back?
Ironically, it seems the fear of rejection is the only thing that can out-do the fear of being alone.
Well, a good thing about human society is we have a “the-more-the-merrier!” outlook. As long as we are willing to be good citizens, we can basically guarantee people will not mind us being a part of their community.
I wonder what would happen if more people received a “hello” more often. That invitation, and declaration is like a reassurance that we are all on the same page, and we’re all still social beings.
I did not necessarily want this to lead in a Sandy Hook direction, but I think there is a lot to be said about a person who decides he is not a part of society. There are no rules; there is nothing “too bad” because they set their own standards for good and bad.
Being a part of society is vital, its instinctual, and frankly I think there’s something wrong with someone who doesn’t want anything to do with community.
A hello is a reminder that we’re all in this together. It is like a pledge of allegiance to humanity itself.
I’m not trying to embellish. There is no denying it is really important to acknowledge people’s existences, even if there is a possibility that your high pony tail, workout clothes and tennis shoes will make you unrecognizable.
Being acknowledged and being recognized are two different things. I can’t begin to be a part of a community if I don’t acknowledge it first; recognition can come later.
With that said, to my three supermarket people: Hello. I apologize for not saying it earlier, I hope the fact that I am writing about you shows you that I do believe you are important.
To everyone else, we need to be a “hello” type of community. Every single person matters, and its time we started believing that.