I dropped my son off at school early this morning. I don’t usually drive him, but today he had to be there for 6 am. On my drive home along two eastbound lanes, I sought to move from the left lane to the right, since I had to turn south at the next block.
After putting my turn indicator on, checking my mirrors, and doing the standard head-turn check for my blind spot, I determined that I had plenty of room to move over.
However, the guy who was several car lengths behind me in the right lane had other ideas.
As soon as I indicated my desire to get into his lane, he mashed the accelerator to close the gap between himself and the car in front. I’m not sure what possessed him to try to squeeze me out, but he obviously didn’t want me to be in front of him, even though I already was.
Though I saw him start to accelerate, I still had plenty of room to make the shift. As I eased into the right hand lane, I could see him fuming in my rear view mirror.
He was yelling, waving his right hand around, and having an all around hissy fit. Even as I turned right and he continued straight, I could see him glare at me as he went through the intersection.
“Dude,” I thought out loud, “Do you realize that my pulling in front of you didn’t add a single second to your trip, or pose any sort of threat to your drive? It’s 6:01 am. I sure hope the rest of your day gets better.”
Of course, that’s completely up to him.
It’s something I’ve learned firsthand over the last little while. My wife and I just wrapped up a few weeks with a counsellor. One of the biggest lessons I gleaned from our time there is that I am responsible for my own attitude. Whether or not something stresses me out or offends me, is completely up to me.
It’s amazing how much stress melts away when I simply choose not to be offended by stuff.
If you are looking for reasons to be offended, you are sure to find them. Heck, you may have already decided that you are offended by this post. Ultimately it’s a choice. My driving buddy could have just as easily let me change lanes without incident. I’m sure his day would have been better as a result.
I’m thankful to be more aware now of just how liberating the right attitude can be. It seems so simple in hindsight, but this was a revelation that really only came to light through some great conversations mediated by a helpful counsellor.
And it’s definitely something worth sharing.
Want to relieve stress in one easy step? Choose not to be easily offended.
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung