People come to me for counseling, because they need help managing anger and stress. And here I was, forgetting all I knew – just ready to let those other drivers know what I was feeling! But….. sometimes, just like everyone else, my own feelings overcome reason – and my instinct is to just let loose!
At the moment when I was most annoyed – and when my almost-patient passenger was probably ready to kill me – I was distracted by a loud horn in the next lane. This other driver was obviously just furious – pounding the dashboard, saying things I was glad I couldn’t hear, and blasting the horn – at traffic that couldn’t have moved any faster at that moment.
Wow! That was exactly how I was feeling! But, of course, I wasn’t ready to act out the way he was. How humiliating that would be…….. and how useless!
That driver will never know the favor he did for me. His rage was a distraction, giving me a chance to realize that my anger really wouldn’t make those cars disappear and reminding me to have a sense of humor. All I could think about, watching him, was a cartoon figure acting out frustration and anger.
As I took a deep, calming breath, my passenger started laughing, and I quickly joined in. Soon we were watching all those other rageful drivers with humor and empathy, rather than distress. And suddenly, there I was at my destination! Late, but not nearly as angry and stressed.
We all have choices. You could choose to remind yourself that humor, distraction, and changing the story you tell yourself can change your behavior – and your feelings.
Find something funny – then laugh about it – even if it’s forced humor. And – miraculously, you might find yourself less angry!