Do you know a time when you felt like you were at your worst? Maybe there’s a situation that just brings out the ugliness in you? Turns you into someone you don’t want to be and especially don’t like to be. Maybe you can think of a moment right now. How are you working on combating that?
I’ll admit. I become my worst self in traffic (I’m sure a lot of people do). I was stuck in traffic for an hour and fifteen minutes the other day and I did not like the person I became in that hour and fifteen minutes. I was unbelievably impatient. I got annoyed at every little thing–especially other drivers–and I found myself wanting to blame and get mad at the person who caused the traffic jam when I should’ve been more worried on whether or not the people causing the traffic jam were okay.
In my defense (a very poor defense, mind you), it was 90+ degrees outside and I was in my truck. My truck who has no working air conditioning. So, I’ve got the windows open, but I’m still sweating my skin off. Not to mention, when I hold the clutch too long, my foot starts falling asleep. I saw the traffic when I was getting off one highway and onto another. Usually, traffic jams on my highways don’t take that long. Yet, I was on that exit ramp for over 20 minutes. I was listening to the radio to learn what was causing the bad traffic, but no one was covering it! Eventually, my mom calls me and says that a truck overturned and spilled it’s contents all over the road. Contents that needed people in hazmat suits to clean up…and they were only letting cars through on the shoulder.
That’s a pretty good reason to be stuck in traffic. It wasn’t a typical “Oh, a guy got a speeding ticket and everyone is slowing down to stare at him.” It was an actual, “someone could be hurt” situation and yet, I’m losing my patience! How sad is that?
I know that having patience in traffic is something I need to work on. And you know what? When it comes down to it. Patience really is a choice. Are you going to choose to take captive your impatient thoughts and listen to the reason of “I can wait so no one else gets hurt?” Or you just going to ride your bad mood like a rabid monkey on a freight train?
I can honestly say it’s no fun to be in a bad mood–though some might disagree with me. Looking back on how I acted in that traffic jam, I’m actually ashamed of it. How am I representing well if I’m raging in traffic? If I rage while I’m by myself; would I do the same when someone else is in the car? I certainly hope not.
Think about a time that you’ve been out with family or friends and everyone is having a good time, but then someone with a bad mood comes over and starts acting upon that mood. They could be complaining, arguing, or even expressing that mood through facial expressions. The air suddenly chances and the good vibes are smashed with a mallet. That’s pretty much what happened when I got home after an hour and fifteen minutes of sweating in traffic. Still frustrated with the whole ordeal, I complained to my family, and I got a lot of bobbing heads of sympathy in return. They were very good about it, but I shouldn’t have been so focused on what the traffic had been like. I should’ve just moved on to what we had planned for that night and not drag around the past like a caveman with a heavy club.
Thankfully, there’s a lesson to be learned with every mistake and–honestly–I hope next time I get stuck in traffic, I do better. I hope I take deep breaths and make friends with patience or just start singing along with the radio to distract me from current stop and go. I hope I be the type of person anyone would like to know in heavy traffic.
So, that’s my worst self and how I’m trying to work on it. What about you? Where do you become your worst self and what efforts are you taking to change that?