Road Rage - Take the road less traveled
Earlier this week, I was driving to work with both boys in the back of the Jeep. My youngest begins moaning and holding his belly. Not one to tolerate the vomit of a child, let alone in my jeep, I panicked a little, okay, maybe I panicked a lot. No one enjoys vomit, but when it's their child, they often tolerate it. I do not. In fact, vomit is my snake, spider, heights, small spaces... Do I slow down? Do I speed up? WHAT DO I DO? The chances of the person in the car behind me truly understanding what was occurring in my world, my jeep, my mind are slim to none. Had they known, would they have been more tolerant of my inconsistent speed and erratic driving behavior? I believe they would have.
I believe that most people, when they know the whole story always tend to be more compassionate.
However, when we’re anonymously driving behind some annoying, slow or inconsistent driver, it’s easy to judge.
I’ll never forget my grandfather…driving. He shouldn’t have had his license, but it was the last shred of independence he had. He’d barely passed the eye exam at the DMV and we were wondering if he paid them off. One day, I was riding in the backseat with him, rather slowly, and he spotted a “boy riding a bicycle” down the side of the road. Only it wasn’t a boy riding a bicycle, but a tractor. So, the next time you’re driving a behind an “old” person, remember, they could be holding on to that one last shred of dignity they have left, before they’re confined to their homes or relying on exhausted family members to drive them around.
When was the last time someone honked at you or flipped you off or vice versa? For me, ironically it was the other day – he honked at me, I promise, I don’t use my horn anymore. Instead of feeling that nervous energy I get when someone is mad at me, I felt POWERFUL, but not in a good way. I knew I had the power over that man and probably over the rest of his day. He clearly didn’t grasp that concept, as he tailed me and then sped past me when he had the opportunity. That’s power, when you give yours up by honking or flipping someone off or yelling, you are letting someone else control how the rest of your day goes.
Chances are, he was irritated hours later and probably blamed his bad mood on “that !@#$* who passed me”. I didn’t choose to have that kind of power over him, but he chose to give it to me. Thank you Sir, I’m not worthy.
When you think about it, anger is such a waste of time and energy…
especially on a stranger…who is often distracted in his own little world of pain and suffering, for whatever reason that may be. Is it really that important that we can’t slow down and imagine what the real story is?
I challenge you to try to the ROAD RAGE PREVENTION GAME…it’s kind of fun, I made it up. The next time someone cuts you off and then drives slow (wicked annoying), honks their horn at you, steals your parking space or something else…create the story. Rather than getting your panties in a bunch over something you truly have no control over, imagine what just happened or what has been happening that has caused that behavior.
Here are some examples: Her boyfriend just broke up with her, she’s destroyed and doesn’t care. His kids are screaming and fighting in the back seat. She just found out her best friend was in a car accident. He’s a teenager who just got his license and loves the power and newfound freedom, screw you all. She’s an old woman and wants to drive herself to get her own groceries this time. He’s rocking out to Eminem and doesn’t even notice you. She’s going on her first date and is super nervous.
The fact of matter is that you get to hold onto your power and you get to choose how you respond.
Try it, you’ll feel calmer on the road next time…let it go and enjoy the rest of your day.