And I Thought the Traffic Jam Was Bad! Choosing our response to other people’s reactions
I was thinking about what to write for this week’s tip while we were driving home from visiting family this weekend. I always have a list of ideas but I wait to see what feels like the right topic. I know life is full of Rich Material and more possibilities would be coming my way.
Sure enough, about an hour from home we ran into a major traffic jam on the interstate. Traffic was stopped or barely crawling. My husband was driving and seemed to be handling the frustration fairly well, but I was very surprised to hear my 10 year old daughter spouting out her extreme irritation from the back. She continued to loudly voice her thoughts and share how upset she was. I wondered how come it bothered her since she wasn’t the one driving. As the minutes ticked by and there was no end in sight, I found I could accept that the traffic was out of my control but I was becoming annoyed at my daughter’s non-stop rant. We even commented that it’s one thing to be annoyed and another to be annoyING. I tried to slip in a remark about “choosing our experience,” but she is highly tuned into any attempt I make at pointing out the positive. “Mommmmmm!” Stop with the positive stuff already! OK?”
Then it hit me. I not only had the opportunity to choose my response to the traffic jam, I could also choose how I responded to her response to the stopped traffic. It was then that I remembered to take several deep breaths and not let myself get caught up in the drama. What a good lesson! AND here was the tip I needed to share. When we are in a stressful situation, we not only need to choose our attitude towards the situation, but also towards how people around us are reacting. This can be tricky and may require even more willpower on our part.
Have you ever found yourself getting upset with someone else’s reaction?