My friend and I recently attempted another road trip. We enjoy ourselves – much of the time – but the driving aspect is always stressful. He drives, I navigate. And we’re talking paper maps – no Satnav. Sometimes it works and a lot of the time it doesn’t, as I’m directionally challenged and he won’t get involved in figuring out how to get somewhere. So we often get lost and sometimes turn up late for things – another source of stress. I also have to plan everything and he just goes along with it without any input into what we do on these trips. Fine, but when there’s a problem, he tends to overreact.
So such things cause me to be annoyed with him, but I’ve started to realize that when problems arise, reacting negatively doesn’t remotely help the situation. It’s hard, but with some newly acquired self-restraint, I’m learning that instead of lashing out, to take a step back and try to approach the situation calmly. Not always easy, especially in the spur of the moment, but what helps me is to look at the situation from an entirely different perspective. Many people behave negatively or overreact because they are suffering in some way internally. We all have our own particular anxieties and issues that lead us to act in outward negative ways – myself included. Wouldn’t I want someone to show compassion to me in these moments, not anger or irritation?
So this is what I (try to) do now is to modify my own reaction – to act instead with compassion and to focus on finding a solution to the problem. This decision to let go and approach the situation calmly has brought me so much peace, and more profoundly, into a whole other realm of humility – the realization of how vulnerable we all are and our sense of connectivity and responsibility to one another as members of humanity. I’ll write more about humility another time, but please don’t get annoyed with me for leading you on and not saying more about it now. 😊