When I was in my 20s, I would get beyond mad when driving, and someone cut in front of me a little too close. I would yell and do some other things to “teach them a lesson”, because I took it so personally, as if they did it to ruin my day.
Maybe It’s Not All About Me
On a drive home one day (in my 30s) I noticed myself trying to get through traffic, cutting in and out of lanes whenever there was an opening, only because I really had to use the bathroom. As soon as I was aware of what I was doing, it hit me that people were not cutting each other off just to be annoying – it wasn’t personal, and it definitely was not to intentionally ruin my day.
I saw a new perspective. We care so much about what’s going on in our own lives, that we forget that we have no idea what’s going on in someone else’s life, like the driver in the next lane. That person that cut you off might be late for a meeting, they may have to use the bathroom, their wife could be in labor, maybe they got a call that their house flooded, or there’s a family emergency.
A New Angle
This one incident, along with Alice Inoue’s teachings at Happiness U, helped me see that there’s a bigger picture to anything and everything in life. Instead of standing in the same spot, seeing the same thing, and having the same emotions, what if you took a step back to get a different view? You’d see things that you never saw before because you’re looking at it from a new angle. Take another step back and see even more, especially when faced with bad customer service, a heated argument, or when having harsh judgments of others or yourself.
Getting little wake-up calls every so often grounds us and allows us to see new perspectives. New perspectives allow us to grow. Growth opens us up to feel connected with everyone else. Connection lets us accept others, even the guy that just cut you off.