Monday, October 1, 2012

Why Are You So Angry?

I was talking with a co-worker today and realized that people get too angry and too worked up over things. I was once told that getting angry because of something another person says or does means that they have power over you.

I tend to see a lot of anger on the road (many of you know I don't stay still very long, so I'm often in the car, heading somewhere). This past weekend, for instance, some drivers in Waco, Texas failed to understand that the left lane is for passing - not for going the same MPH as the car next to you in the right-hand lane. This went on for a few miles as the number of anxious drivers behind both "slow" cars grew. Finally the driver on the right side edged up and we followers all weaved our way around them. As I glanced back in my review mirror, I saw a guy in a pick-up truck extend his arm out of his window and he proceeded to give the bird to the slow driver in the left lane. And, for some reason, that made me mad.

What was the point? Did he feel better about himself or the situation after retracting his arm back into his vehicle? Did he feel like his middle finger would somehow encourage the slow driver to speed up next time? Or was he looking to feel in control, as he hoped that the driver would see him and feel some type of way about his crude behavior?

Yes, I know that sometimes we have to express our anger/frustration/angst in physical ways to relieve stress, to feel a little bit better about the situation. But to what extent? I felt that the driver could have cussed to his passenger if he needed, or truly, just taken a deep breath. Because, quite frankly, wherever he was going I'm sure if he was already late, he was still going to be late; and, if he was on time, a few miles at the speed limit wasn't going to make that much of a difference.

In situations like these I try to put things in perspective. Say there's a slow driver, or someone who is riding their breaks...ever consider that they're new to the area, and aren't sure where to turn next? Haven't you been in that situation before? Or the driver who cut you off, maybe they misjudged the distance between your car and the next one? Or they were distracted and realized they needed to get over quickly? Oh, that's never been you? (Yeah, right.)

Take a moment. Breathe. Say a prayer for them to get to their destination safely. Take that control back.

I'll leave you with a challenge an old principal gave me: "Make it a great day, or not: the choice is yours."

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