I recently attended a meeting where everyone was required to use pencils because someone in the group is allergic to a chemical that pens emit. That woman is able to come to these meetings because the group is sensitive to her sensitivities.
Yesterday was a different experience. At the end of my Pilates session, the instructor handed me a wipe. She explained that no one wanted to exercise in other people's germs, and she wanted me to wipe down the equipment I had used. I took the wipe reflexively, commenting that I am more concerned about chemicals than germs. The trainer laughed and told me about a student who held the wipe up with disdain, displaying her acrylic nails. The trainer wasn't having it.
We need to be sensitive to others' sensitivities. My reactions are more food-based than chemical, and I don't think the congestion I woke up with this morning was from handling Lysol. But some people suffer greatly from just a little chemical contact.
No, handling a chemical wipe doesn't send me to bed for a week, but I still don't like it. So how do I handle the trainer's policy and insensitivty with... sensitivity?
I shared the tale with Bob. He replied, "That's why I use witch hazel. Most of my clients are fine with commercial antiseptics, but for the few that aren't, the witch hazel works well."
I was delighted. I use witch hazel on my face as an astringent. I will show up to my next session with a tub of witch hazel wipes. No need to get teachy-preachy. Instead of going confrontational into the problem, I will show up with my own solution.
I will leave the tub with her for my future use, and as a gift for others who share my concerns about chemicals.