Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Things People Do - An Opportunity for You in Disguise

Life can some times be a challenge, can’t it? People are sometimes vexing to the core and others ultimately self-less giving whatever they can to a moment.  It is hard to be compassionate sometimes.  It is hard not to get caught up in someone else’s wake of chaos and negativity. But, I must let you in on one of life’s many secrets, and while it may be really hard to grasp – it’s no less than true – you get caught up in it to the extent you have something really important to learn about yourself.

Its true what they say – that every person comes into your life for a reason…even that guy who just mercilessly cut you off on the highway.  The trick is trying to understand what that core-level urge within you that gets so angry and frustrated is really trying to tell you.  Some will say, “You have the right to get angry when one treats you so discourteously.”  Sure, why not.? We have many rights in this world.  But, at some point, you may become unhinged by everything that is happening around you – rude holiday shoppers, woefully unaware drivers and the throngs of thoughtless words spoken by folks unaware (or insidiously – fully aware) in a moment their words might hurt.

At the end of the day, you get to decide how you want to experience your days. Believe it or don’t, you have a choice in terms of how you want to experience a moment.  You can do it nutted up with anger and frustration or you can let go of the expectation that people will behave with common decency (remember – if decency where actually common – wouldn’t every one possess it)?  So, the world of humans and their interactions and behavior will, at times, be completely opposite to yours and what you think is right or wrong in a moment.  But, it’s that tiny little space within you that immediately spools up is just exactly the thing the encounter is intended to teach you about.

What is it about the interaction that really upset you?  Break it down. Are you tired?  Are you hungry? Are you frustrated?  Are you in a hurry?  Notice that not one of these questions focuses at all on what the other person did.  Do you want to know why?  Because you do not have the power to control anyone else that crosses your path but you do have the power to control you and your own reactions as well as behavior.  Do you need a nap?  Do you need a time out?  Do you need to chill out a second?  We’ve all done unthinking things at one time or another.  So, you can’t blame everyone for doing something without thinking about it.  To do so is missing a really great opportunity to take accountability by looking within.  Consider, is there a theme of certain kinds of behavior in others that always brings you from a simmer to a boil?  Why?  What exactly is it about that kind of behavior that gets to you?  Why do you let it get to you?  Is it worth continuing your life letting other people control your reaction in this way?  It is handing your power to other people.  Do you want to continue giving your power away?

Listen, it’s okay to get mad and frustrated.  But, but, but, before you act on that feeling, I promise you that it will always be a thousand times better to sit with it and fully experience it reflecting without doing a single thing about it than it would be to get angry or retaliate in some way.  I read a social media post not long ago about someone driving in their own lane, minding their own business when another car was coming into the lane without looking creating a potential wreck situation.  The driver already in the lane honked to let the other driver know they were there.  This person, who was acting carelessly then retaliated for being honked at and then sped up to get into the lane safely and then break-checked the driver who was in the lane several times.  This is the perfect example of twisted psychology in action.  The driver trying to merge in unsafely got honked at and likely felt bad with some level of self-frustration – so then, proceeded to get even with the other person for reminding them of their unsafe behavior.  Listen, these kinds of things can really escalate and needlessly so.  This retaliation game of escalating is really a waste of human energy.  There are lots of other choices that could have been made without wrecking the experience in that particular moment for everyone driving near either driver. The negativity impacted more than just the two drivers.

But, you see, there will always be unthinking people doing things dangerously.  Sometimes when you remind them, you become the object of their self-anger and you experience the retaliation for their poor choices.  But, you can disengage.  You can be with your own feelings without taking action that might escalate beyond anyone’s ability to save life or limb.  I don’t mean to take a passive approach – this isn’t about cowardice.  This is about the realization that acting in a moment when a psychological filter has seemingly unconsciously taken over might be a bad idea and getting peaceful with yourself before taking action.  Then, choosing a constructive approach to continuing whatever it is you were doing.  Of course, you can take on the mantel of savior of the world and brake-checking everyone else’s bad behavior but consider the outlay of energy necessary for that.  Is it really worth it?  Is that how you want to choose to behave?  Is there another way you can manage yourself? 

Sometimes we can’t get out of the way. Bad things will happen.  There isn’t anything that we can do to change the bad behavior of others.  Some people, believe it or not, are simply un-teachable and will continue the bull-in china shop approach to life.  When I encounter them, I pull back and disengage.  I don’t feel like becoming part of the wreckage (if that can be avoided by my choices).  So, well, to be honest, I get frustrated too.  Peopling is hard when you’re on the road, when you’re shopping, working or even at a family gathering.  I merely suggest there are alternatives in our choices.  You can get mad and fight back.  You can go toe-to-toe and match punch with punch.  It’s your life, do what you want.  But, if you don’t want to live your life in a continually triggered state, you’ve got to understand your triggers.  What about this experience or that experience triggers you?  Do you need a nap, a cookie, a counselor, a hug, a friend, a quiet chill out moment?  It’s up to you to take the opportunity or not.  Not is okay too if you’re okay with that.  Just know there are always alternative choices even when the emotions have been triggered.  You can choose not to react and pull yourself back until you figure out how you would most like to constructively respond.  It’s an option.  I’m not judging.  I’m just saying that there are many choices.

Look, there is a reason that it is said, “Patience is a virtue.” The experience of patience, compassion, and the ability to pause when you feel like reacting are very powerful moments to experience.  When you are in a space of accountability for self – understanding of others – patience for those less knowledgeable or aware as you – taking a breath – this is how you maintain your power instead of spilling energy out everywhere unthinkingly.  Did you know?  Well, now you do.  Again, you’ll get no judgment from me on your individual choices.  I really do understand.  We all have choices and every choice we make has a lesson for us.  But, certain life lessons will continue to repeat until we understand them.  Sometimes, until we understand the reason certain people and situations present themselves to us and frustrate or anger us, it can be a really painful set of experiences.  I wish you many moments of perfect pauses for quick contemplation that allow you to breathe, understand and respond to your experiences. I wish you much personal power and full realization of your life experiences.  I wish you an ever increasingly satisfactory set of human interactions.  Enjoy your life. Live.  Love. Understand.  Bless.

  © 2019, photo and words.

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