The Open Door Phenomenon
I first noticed this when I was a young mother trying to navigate doors, strollers, diaper bag and toddlers. The first time I noticed it, I was trying to take my double stroller through the handicap (the only electric) door at the mall.
There are 2 double doors for each main entrance into the mall. In some places, I think there are more. In any case, that’s 4 doors to choose from. I am so grateful for the automatic handicap door, (which at our mall is the only automatic door available) especially when I had a stroller and small children. I am not very tall and my reach to be able to hold a door open and get a stroller through the doors isn’t very far. Anyway, I was just getting the stroller through the door when a very impatient man (in his 20’s) waited behind me to come through the door. He was so annoyed with how long it was taking me to navigate the door and the stroller.
- He could have easily gone through one of the other doors, into the mall! (He wasn’t handicapped in anyway and looked capable of opening his own door.) There was no reason he had to wait behind me and get irritated.
- He could have helped me with the doors. Often times the electric door is slow to open.
After that, I started paying attention.
What I noticed is that people tend to go to the open door. It doesn’t matter that there are several other doors for everyone to go through; everyone wants to go through the one that is open.
I mentioned it to my husband and he started to notice this as well. What was even more startling was when we realized we were doing the same thing. Why are we getting irritated waiting for a crowd to go through one door? It’s an interesting experiment to watch how many people do this and whether you find yourself doing this as well.
So, what does this say about us? Why do we do this? These are questions I would love to have the answers to!
More questions I have:
Are we all just lazy at heart?
Why do we think we can only go through the one open door especially when there’s a row of doors to choose from?
Why do we get irritated waiting, especially when we don’t have to?
Why do we behave like lemmings?
Have we all been conditioned to follow in lines and follow the crowd?
So, our family has made it a point to not follow blindly, in and out of places. Often one of my girls or husband will comment something like, “Did you see that? I opened my own door.” This often leads to ,“I shall go down in history as the man who opened a door!” (From the movie, “Ever After: A Cinderella Story”)
What we have noticed in opening our own door when there is a crowd trying to get through one or two:
- Dirty looks
- Some look irritated because we aren’t waiting our turn
- How dare we open another door?!
- Maybe some were wondering why they didn’t think about going through one of the other doors.
- It’s almost as if we were upsetting the proper order of things.
What other areas in our lives are we doing this? Is there another “door” but we are following the path of least resistance?
What if we explored opening other “doors” instead of following the crowd? Are we following the crowd because we think it is what is expected of us? What if we cast aside the doubts we have about ourselves? What if we are willing to make mistakes, fail, try again, or succeed? What if we do something different? Something off the beaten path?
What if there are other doors waiting for us to open? What if we pass them by? What if we walked through our own doors?
I have felt that sometimes I am forced to open a door I don’t always want to open. As I review those doors, I’m glad that life has taken me through them. Others I am glad I opened. I have often felt that I live my life outside of my comfort zone. There are so many doors I didn’t think I would open or didn’t know they were there to open.
Being diagnosed with celiac was a door I was forced through with a diagnosis and symptoms that were getting worse. This has led to walking through the door to become a Branch Manager of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Utah County. This has led to staying up to date on information concerning gluten free, celiac and other health issues. I have walked through the door of researching issues about my health and how to improve it. I have learned how to be my own advocate.
The celiac door naturally led to the gluten free door. This has led to talking to strangers at the grocery store. Being friends with some wonderful gluten free entrepreneurs. Discovering how much our diet affects our lives. Reading labels. Being a little more organized and budgeting a little harder. Trying new things: food and cooking. I walked through the door to learn how to cook better for my family. I read a lot.
Because of my experiences with celiac and gluten free I realized that drugs/medication isn’t the only way to handle illness and other health issues. Don’t get me wrong I love western medicine; I just wish alternative and western ideas would work better together! I think we would all be healthier if there was a mesh between the two to figure out what works best for individuals. This has led to the door of reading different books. It has led to being open to how we are affected by energy and thoughts. It has led to essential oils, herbs and supplements. It has led to asking “Is there another way”? Especially, if there are less side effects and good results. This is a door I never expected to open!
This was a really hard door to open! I didn’t want to do it. You can learn more about that by going to, About Me: My Homeschool Story. This led to talking about ALL issues with our kids and leaving nothing up to anyone else. This led to a closeness with our kids that I don’t think we would have had going through the door we were blindly going through. This led to doors for our kids with choirs, theater, gymnastics, art, piano and trying so many other things.
This door was about putting our family first. Focusing on our responsibility as the parents of our children. This led to being wary of relationships, including extended family relationships that took focus away from the responsibility of our children. I found that some relationships made it more difficult for me to be the mom I wanted to be. Some wanted me to focus on them instead of my children.
When I walked through the “mom” door I knew the kind of mom I wanted to be. My door was about being fully responsible for my child and staying home with her. My door was about putting aside what I wanted and focusing on my child. I wanted my children to have my values and ideals. I felt that sending them away to be watched by someone else would bring a different influence and experience that I didn’t want my child to have. In talking about costs, I would solely be working just to pay for someone to take care of my child. Being a mom is the only job I ever really wanted to have. I have walked through doors of saying goodbye to people who weren’t positive in my life so I could be positive in my families lives and the mom I want to be.
I walked through the door of religion. I choose to be an active member of my church. I walk through the door everyday deciding what level of commitment I will give to my faith. This has led to so many wonderful and personal things. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and all that He has done for me. This has led to greater gratitude, compassion, and service, as well as a deeper understanding of who I am.