One thing I’ve struggled with for a long time is getting mad at other drivers when I’m driving. It doesn’t take much at all for me to suddenly get mad. Someone gets in my way, turns without using an indicator, doesn’t pull away quickly enough on a green light and a whole range of other small, innocent things and I find that I can suddenly get very agitated.
The strange thing is that the actions of others that can make me mad are exactly the actions that I do on the road from time to time!
What’s the point of getting mad?
Even though I know there’s no point getting mad, I’m still prone to do it. Nothing changes for the better and anger can only make it worse. It certainly has a negative effect on me physically, and it’s possible for the other driver to realize that I’m mad and for that to have a negative effect on them as well.
I wouldn’t get mad at a friend or relative
If I knew who the other driver was, then there’s no way I’d get mad at them. This is a strange thing to realize. It’s only because the other driver is anonymous (or, at least I think they are) that I seem to be able to make assumptions about them, like they are useless drivers or, in some perverse way, deliberately trying to ruin my day.
I have no right to judge people so quickly
I have no idea what’s been going on in the other person’s day. I have no idea what problems they might be dealing with or what’s going through their minds at the moment. Even if they are doing something a bit stupid or mean (who hasn’t), they’ll probably regret it later. Without knowing them, at least a little, I can’t make a quick negative judgment of them and think badly of them. That’s just not fair.
Driving with compassion and respect
These days, my aim is driving with compassion and respect. In fact, all of life should be conducted with compassion and respect. Almost like I have a duty to watch out for the safety of everyone else on the road (actually, every driver has this exact same duty).
It’s really liberating when I approach driving like this. I’m not tempted to speed, I give people room, allow them out even when I don’t have to (makes their day a little happier as well). I’m happier and don’t get stressed. Everyone’s a winner really.
Interesting, huh? Get mad and everyone is a loser, have compassion and respect and everyone is a winner! Should be an easy choice.
Getting mad is really just a reflection on me
It’s so clear to me now that outbursts of anger are really just a poor reflection of what’s going on inside my head. There’s nothing to be proud of here. If I suddenly burst into anger on the road, then it shows that my mind is not in a good place. It’s really nothing to do with the other drivers. It’s because of what’s inside me.
When my mind is full of compassion and respect, everything flows easily and the reflection on me instantly becomes positive.
I’m working on keeping compassion and respect while I’m driving and in the whole of my life. And this compassion and respect is directed towards myself as well. I forgive myself for my anger outbursts in the past, and I’m now trying to avoid them totally. Just keep trying, one day at a time, driving with compassion.