I was driving to work this morning when it happened.
Someone pulled out in front of me on the highway when I was going 70km/h. It was unexpected and a poor decision on their part, yet I did have enough time to brake before an accident occurred.
Immediately, I felt agitated and annoyed. I think I said something explicit in response and gave them a flash of my headlights. “Why would you pull out directly in front of traffic?! Do you have any common-sense?!”
A moment after that, I felt guilty for reacting in such a mindless way. I chose to act in a way that wouldn’t have made either of us feel good. I don’t know what’s going on in their world to make them take that action. They could be rushing due to an emergency. Maybe they just didn’t see me. I just don’t know.
Meanwhile, I chose to react the way I did. I chose to be angry and reactive.
Instead, I could have taken a breath, paused for a moment and then taken a course of action that would be more rational. Better yet, I could have taken an action that is kind and empathetic.
They way we act, especially in response to others is always within our control. Of course, things will agitate and annoy us. But then, we can choose to let it bother us, or we can choose to take a slow, deep breath, smile and move on with our day.
That seems like a better choice to me.