How did you react the last time someone cut your car off in traffic? Or how did you react when you thought another driver was driving too slow? Did you yell, curse, tailgate the other car in the hopes that they would get the message and get our of your way? Or even worse, did you go after the driver who you thought “did you wrong” –so you could cut them off, flip them the bird, or to stop them so you could give them a piece of your mind? Where does the anger come from? Do we think we’re king of the road? I used to get angry (fuss about the other driver being an insensitive jerk) until one day my daughter, who hadn’t been driving too long, told me she reacted the same way. She said she learned it from me. Oh no! This is not a behavior I wanted to pass along. Enough said. We had a nice long chat about managing your emotions in the car. Since then I’ve kept myself in check. I want my daughter to be a safe driver and in control of her emotions behind the wheel. So far, so good. Let this be a reminder that our children are always watching and learning from us.
Even if you do remain ever so calm while driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, there’s nothing quite like someone dinging your car door (while you are sitting in your car) to test your self-control. Whenever you feel that anger rising up in you just think of this video:
Here’s two good articles on road rage:
With that said, who is to blame for your actions? Who decides how you are going to act in any situation? Check out this video to find out more. It will give you something to think about:
Stop Being Everybody’s Victim
(Adapted by Louis Lapides from John Powell, Why I am Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, Argus Comm.)
The late U.S. syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris accompanied his friend George to his favorite newsstand. George greeted the man selling the newspapers courteously, but in return he received gruff service. He barely acknowledged his customer and never even looked up at him when he requested the late night edition. Accepting the newspaper, which was shoved rudely in his direction, George politely smiled and wished the newsman a pleasant weekend. The proprietor grunted an indiscernible sound and seemed relieved that the two men had completed their transaction.
As the two friends walked down the street the columnist asked, “Does he always treat you so rudely?” “Yes, unfortunately, he does,” George responded. “And are you always so kind and friendly to him?” “Yes, I am!” George continued as they turned a corner. “Why are you so nice when he is so unfriendly to you?” With a look of deep contemplation, George explained, “Because I don’t want him to decide how I am going to act.”
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Who decides how you are going to act? Is it your circumstances or the difficult people in your life that determine your responses? When we allow our conflicts to control us, we behave as though getting rid of our predicaments is our only priority. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter how we treat one another.
For example, we say, “This person is causing me distress right now so I don’t care about exercising patience, self-control, and loving kindness. Instead, I want to let them know how angry I am because of their actions.”
We forget our trials will eventually subside. But the way we handle conflicts will influence our lives for a long time. Will you only respond to the momentary crisis or will you be more concerned about the enduring value of what kind of person you are becoming? Who decides how you will act when the pressure is on?