When you’re left handed, everything is backwards. It’s understandable that the world is made for right-handed people. Only about 10% of the population is left handed. But when you’re a lefty living in a right-handed world, it’s more than just the torture of trying to write in a spiral notebook. The world is truly backwards in many ways for us.
Truths and Myths about Being Left Handed
There are all kinds of myths about how lefties are different and how being left handed affects us. They say we think with the right side of our brains (my mother liked to say we were in our right minds), tend to be more creative, and are at greater risk of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, etc. It’s been studied ad nauseum to figure out how and why we are different. It doesn’t seem there’s any hard evidence to back up most of these urban legends about lefties.
I can tell you some things that are definitely true though. There are many things in everyday life that are just simply backwards to a left handed person. The obvious challenges, like the previously mentioned spiral notebooks, that come to mind include:
- Smearing ink across the page as I write
- Not being able to see the pretty design on my coffee mug
- The measurements facing away from me on a measuring cup
- Pens or stylus are always attached to the right side of the credit card machines at checkout
- Video game controllers that put all the important buttons on the right side
- Scissors (enough said)
Right now I’m willing to bet some of you righties never even realized those things were a problem for us left handed folks. The world is designed by you, for you. Nothing is backwards in your world.
But It’s More Than Inconveniences, Lefties Truly See Things Backwards
Over the years, I’ve noticed it’s more than just mere inconveniences though. Left handed people truly view the world differently, or backwards if you will. Here’s an example.
Recently, I was working a vendor booth at an event with my candle business. The tables were lining the walls of a square room, with the entrance door toward the right. When I walked into the room, I walked straight into the tables along my left. I thought I had a great spot because people would come in and I’d be one of the first booths they would see. But when the lady with the booth next to me came in, she went to the right and walked all the way around the room before she came to where I was and found her table. I thought it was interesting we went two different directions but didn’t think much of it.
Then when people started arriving, I sat at my booth and watched as every single person (with a rare exception) went to the right immediately and worked their way around the room. I was puzzled (and annoyed) because they were seeing all the other businesses before mine. I wondered why they all went that way when I had instinctively gone the opposite way when I entered the room.
Then it dawned on me. I’m left handed! I instinctively went to the left when I entered the room. But being that 90% of people are right handed, they naturally went to the right first. I asked my neighbor who had gone all the way around the room earlier, and sure enough, she confirmed that she was right handed!
We’re Used to Living in a Right Handed World
It’s definitely a right-handed world. There are so many things that we lefties just get used to doing “the right way” that we don’t even notice it anymore. We learn how to do things with our right hands or we figure out how to make it work with our left hand. My husband is right handed. We will often disagree on simple things like where to place furniture, what direction the dishes are supposed to face in the dishwasher, etc.
So next time you’re interacting with someone who you know if left handed, try seeing the world from their point of view. Or if you’re talking to someone who sees things different, maybe they’re left handed. Maybe they think you’re the one who’s backwards!