We were driving down a four-lane highway on our way to an appointment. My husband was at the wheel. As he pulled over in the left lane to pass another driver, he commented on the long line of cars in the left lane. The cars were going slow enough that he couldn’t pass the driver on the right. He started to get frustrated, complaining that whoever was driving slow in the left lane should get out of the way.
I could feel myself getting stressed by his frustration. I told him we had plenty of time to get to our appointment, but he was irritated by the slow flow of traffic and the unwavering left-lane driver up ahead.
I started to say, “You should just . . .” I didn’t finish. I was going to say, “You should just relax since you can’t control the other driver.” But it hit me; I needed to take my own advice. I should just relax and stop trying to change the other person, my husband.
I took a few breaths and told myself to “love what is.”
Byron Katie is the author of “Loving What Is,” a book that’s made a huge impact on me. She has a set of questions she calls, The Work.
Q1. Is it true that my husband should not be stressed by the slow driver stuck in the left lane? My initial answer is, yes, he should just relax and not let it bother him.
Q2. Can I absolutely know that he should not let it bother him? Hmmm. I’m not him. He has his own reasons for reacting the way he does. Maybe it’s not absolutely true…
Q3. When I believe he should not be stressed, how do I react? I get stressed.
Q4. If I let go of that thought, if I just accepted his feelings, I would feel more relaxed. Hmmm.
Give this practice a try when someone else’s bad mood is impacting your mood.
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