With Awareness Comes Change

A Better You Blog, With Awareness Comes Change: Photo Looking up into the trees

Recently I needed a ride share. A few days later, I got an email from the company apologizing for the driver being late. Until that moment, I didn’t know the 12-minute wait wasn’t acceptable per their computations and I appreciate the company reaching out to me unsolicited.

In watching the driver’s path to my destination, I noticed a detour to a fast-food restaurant. I figured he was either hungry or doubling up to maximize his personal business. In either case, I couldn’t blame him. I was simply glad someone responded. There was a thunderstorm with possible flooding heading our way so I was worried not many drivers wanted to be out if they didn’t have to be.

I imagine my ignorance about typical ride share protocols had something to do with my lack of annoyance. I’m not sure what the expected response time should’ve been. Perhaps it should’ve taken five minutes less. Once I figured out the acceptable customer service range, I still wasn’t mad – not over five minutes.

Through the years, I evolved. There was a time, I would get upset over circumstances beyond my control. I didn’t like being miffed every time I ventured outside. I noticed what I was internally arguing about was over my time. Looking further, the situations were in the minuscule five minutes or less range. I didn’t have outbursts. Yet, I simply didn’t like being annoyed. Those moments occurred during basic things like going to the grocery store. There I was, inwardly wondering, “Why can’t they open another register when the three they had open had a few people ahead of me?”

Then there was driving. No matter where I was going, my feathers could be ruffled within blocks of leaving. Worrying about being late was seldom a concern. I’m one of those people who arrive at least fifteen minutes ahead of time. My issues were about trivial matters like the car in front of me going too slow which cost me making a green light.

With awareness comes change.

Daily, these common and unpreventable situations often shifted my mood. I noticed I was allowing other people to offend me. I had inner expectations for the way my little part of the universe should be or how others should behave in it. If they didn’t, I became annoyed. When I really examined these types of events, they were often no big deal. I didn’t like putting major attention on minor things.

The most laughable part was realizing how much time I wasted when home was my destination.

So here’s what I began to do:

#1: Better Self Talk
Ask better questions and you get better answers. This is something I teach people in sessions when working on reframes. My go-to question I ask myself is, “Does this really matter?” Depending on the situation, I might also ask, “Are they doing this to deliberately hurt me when they don’t even know me?” Lastly, if there’s a problem, I always try to find a solution. That’s where my mind shifts to.

So simply reframe it. Talk yourself out of the offense. You will be happier as you learn to talk to yourself better and when you do, you’ll feel and act better, noticing more peace and harmony in your mood.

#2: Put Yourself in the “Offender’s” Shoes
Did the universe really wake up to rock your world? Compassion goes a long way to improving your mood. Thinking about the offender gives me power. Sometimes there’s nothing they can do. Other times, mistakes happen. I sure know I make them.

#3: Know the Facts
Many times, upset happens by not having all the information. The service at the restaurant may be slow because a cook left for the day due to a family emergency. People lash out thinking they understand what the other was thinking or why they did something. I’ve gotten egg on my face more than once reading minds. I bet you have too. Don’t jump to conclusions.

#4: Find a Mirror
If I were to look at some situations with a critical eye, I may see that I played a part in the chaos. Step back and see your own part with truthful eyes.

#5: Be Humble
If you made a mistake, apologies go a long way. Many situations occur because I errored. I may have been late, said something wrong, misunderstood the directions, drove too fast or thought I was in the right place only to find out I wasn’t. Apologies go a long way in defusing drama.

#6: Don’t Feed Your Ego
The more the ego gets fed, the more it wants to eat.

The unintentional or intentional imperfections of others don’t mean it’s okay to fight or berate them. They’re human. We all have bad days. You never know what they’re going through. Remember that. Even when their emotions are getting the best of them, remember who you are. Someone’s poor behavior doesn’t mean you have to reduce yourself to their level.

It’s also good karma to be kind no matter what instead of letting the ego take over and seek retribution.

In summary, a different outlook could help you see the offender had no such intentions of offending. Also, not getting offended so easily keeps you being the best version of you.