Hello SOTGC community,
Not too long ago, I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car my mother was driving when an all too familiar thing happened – she became the “victim” of a “careless” driver.
We were pulling out of a parking space at a shopping center, when my mom realized that another car was also attempting to pull out right behind us. She alerted me to the situation, and then proceeded to sit there, somewhat like a deer in headlights. I told her to honk the horn (which seemed far too logical for me to have to say), and boy did she ever (more than was reasonably necessary if you ask me).
The good news is that we averted the collision, and thank goodness too…we were in a rental car on our way to the airport to catch a flight.
What I found most interesting about the whole situation was the way that my mother reacted as we were driving away, unscathed I might add. She became quite irritated (as many would), and although I don’t remember her exact words, it was something to the effect of, “what is the matter with them? How could they be so stupid?”
Then very calmly (and without sarcasm) I asked her a question – “Have you never made a mistake like that before?” Of course her response was yes, but then, defensively, she said, “But I rarely ever do that”.
So then I asked her another question – “What makes you think the other driver does things like that on a regular basis?”, waited a moment, then followed with, “Perhaps they too just made the odd mistake, just like you do sometimes”.
That simple realization did wonders to diffuse her anger and frustration, and that was the end of the conversation.
At the beginning of the article, I suggested that we were the “victims” of a “careless” driver. The truth is that we were not victims, but in my mother’s mind we were. We turn into victims when we blame others for the things that happen to us, and we judge them harshly as a result.
We get angry and point fingers because something has happened that has disturbed our ego, or in this example, our personal space as we tried to back out.
Let me ask you this – was that even “our” space to begin with? Did we own that particular part of the parking lot? Were we the only ones with rights to back out at that particular time? Did that person want to back into us on purpose? Of course not.
The next time you find yourself getting frustrated by someone else on the road (which is way too common), or in a parking lot, take a deep breath, don’t take it personally, and let it go. It’s simply not worth it.