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We live in trying times. Politically, health-wise, morally. With so many different opinions, personalities, and an increase in of “me first” attitudes, it can be downright exhausting to go out into the world and deal with people. It’s super stressful. I have seriously considered being a hermit on multiple occasions!
The reason we feel this way, most of the time, is because when something happens (a rude person blocks the drive-thru line making it impossible to get out, a person at the grocery store with 40 items checks out in the “10 items or less” line while you wait with your 2 items, you have a political disagreement that turns nasty) our immediate impulse is to put those people in their place. We want to control them. To make them see our point of view. To make them conform to what we think they should be.
But life doesn’t work that way. Rare is the moment when actually confronting people like this actually does anything good. All it really does is make us have a crappy day. We go home even more angry and stressed and quite a lot of us spend the next several weeks with the incident popping up in our heads and making us relive it all over again. It’s draining and it only hurts us.
The one thing we can control in these situations is ourselves. Our actions. Our response. So when something happens, that you know cannot actually be fixed by confrontation, take a moment to focus on yourself. How can you respond that will be better for your sanity and your health?
I have found, in situations like these, that it helps for me to make up a reason why they might be doing what they are doing. Perhaps, as irritating as it might be, the drive-thru blocker had a momentary lapse of judgement and accidentally blocked the line. We’ve all had our moments when we’ve made mistakes that inconvenience others. Maybe the person checking out in the “10 items or less” line was told to go there by one of the employees because it was empty and they could go ahead and check her out. The political opponent who turned nasty…maybe they are just uninformed and have been treated nastily themselves lately which caused them to be that way. If you think about the fact that they truly believe the things they are saying, you can’t blame them for fighting hard for them.
None of these “excuses” may be true, but you’ll never know it as you won’t be confronting them or getting to know them. They will however serve to lower your heart rate and help you find a way to move on and not dwell on them.
And, remind yourself frequently that all we can control is our own actions. You will never, NEVER, be able to control the people around you. Once you truly internalize that, you will be much happier. I mean, really, who wants to go through life stressed and angry all time?