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Dealing With Differences

October 23, 2013

I think that most of you know that in addition to working my part time position at a local spa/salon, I also have my own office that I work out of. In my office I am able to practice everything I do, Esthetics, massage therapy and nails. I share the office suite with 3 other business owners. They are all therapists. One specializes in couples, one deals with trauma and addiction and the other is a Christian counselor that deals with teens and low cost therapy.

I have always enjoyed the company of these different people and personalities. We share the common areas and our practices are oddly complementary. I have the office in the back of the suite and its very quiet. The therapist who specializes in trauma and addiction is someone who CC and I see socially. He and his wife are people that we do brunch and dinners with. They also throw very interesting dinner parties that we always enjoy.

On Monday I came into the office to find him and the Christian counselor in a discussion. She called me into it, and immediately put me on the spot. Apparently her clients are offended by the Buddha that he has in the waiting room of the office. She was actually having a conversation with him to take it down. He was telling her that if he does that, she should take down everything that has a cross on it in the lobby as well.

She begins the conversation with me by saying, “Hey, you’re a Christian, what do you think of this?” I didn’t quite know what to say, other than to offer up that it doesn’t bother me. I could care less. I am very open minded towards other people’s spiritual beliefs and those types of things don’t impact me or my business. I consider myself spiritual, I don’t particularly identify as “Christian”. I gave her the exact response I put here and I could immediately see that she was not expecting that answer. My thing is that there are 4 of us with very different practices and cliental. I do not bring religion (or politics) into my business at all. That’s not what I am there do to. I have clients from all walks of life and my goal is to make everyone comfortable.

I feel that asking Dr. K to take down his Buddha is highly offensive. He uses Buddhist teachings in his practice and his office is decorated with more Buddha’s. I like the Buddha’s. I like the energy that he brings into the office space and I also respect his beliefs and spiritually. I personally feel that if her clients are so highly bothered by this that she had to ask another person to suppress their religion so others can feel more comfortable with their own, then she needs to find a Christian based office to work out of. No one is asking her clients to worship the Buddha, and if those clients can’t understand that she works in an office with people of different spiritual callings, which we all deal with everyday of our lives, then maybe this isn’t the place for her to be working.

I enjoy the balance in our office. I appreciate spirituality. What I don’t like is telling other people how to look at the world because you are worried about how it’s going to affect people in your life. We all deal with adversity every day in many different ways. If your counseling clients have an issue with that, maybe it’s a good thing that they are in counseling. We all need to learn how to deal with adversity, what a perfect opportunity to teach about dealing with something uncomfortable and learning how to face it.

Besides, if one Buddha, that is sitting on a table displaying the different business within the office, is enough to make a Christian person feel uncomfortable about their own religion, maybe learning some tolerance or reading about exactly what the Buddha represents is in order. No one is asking you to become Buddhist when walking into the office, all we’ve done is create a space that four separate therapists have come into to work. This gal was the last one to lease a space within our suite, and if her clients are being offended, then she needs to address that with her clients. I don’t want the crosses and Christian literature to offend my clients either, I left a Christian based chiropractors office 5 years ago because it bothered my clients.

To me the obvious solution is to take down all the relics in the common areas. Keep your faith and spiritually confined to your offices. Maybe that’s asking too much. I still feel that if she needs to be in a Christian based office, then she needs to move. I don’t think it’s fair to impose that upon the rest of us or our clients. That’s not why people come to see me, and I am not about to force that into my business. Mind you, I’ve worked in this office for three years and there has always been a Buddha next to Dr K’s business cards. This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone complain, and for the record, my clients have never said anything about it. But again, that’s not what my clients come to me for. They aren’t here for religion or prayers. Which brings me back to my stance on taking the Buddha and the crosses out of the waiting room. Maybe the lobby won’t cause any tensions if its benign and unthreatening. Talk about lessons in tolerance…

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From → Massage, My work

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