last nite i had to pick up my parents from the airport. as i approached the arrivals area, i quickly found myself in a long line of cars, all there for the same reason i was. not to pick up my parents, specifically, but to pick up someone.
apparently the airlines – in their infinite wisdom – scheduled all their late evening arrivals into phoenix at the same time. so the airport was a freakin’ zoo of cars, trucks and suvs trying to maneuver and make their way to the curb.
being stuck in such a traffic jam, i quickly grew irritated. honestly, i wanted to yell and scream and punch someone in the nose. and in truth, i did at one point. (not punch someone in the nose, but yell and scream.)
but then i caught myself. what good was my screaming and irritation doing? absolutely none. i reminded myself that i had no power over the amount of vehicles converging on the airport. i couldn’t just snap my fingers and magically make the problem go away.
but i did have control over my reaction. that, and my own vehicle, of course.
so, instead of continuing with my frustration and anger, i changed my reaction to the situation. i decided to keep calm and patient. no, it wasn’t easy, but it sure made for a less stressful time.
oftentimes, the only thing we have control over is our own reaction.
it’s true. we really do have control over our reactions. if something upsets us or if we claim to be offended by something, it is because we choose to be upset or offended.
that may be difficult to grasp, but it is so true. and coming to an understanding of this idea is immensely liberating.
i’m not saying it’s easy to choose patience over irritation or to choose not to be offended. but our reactions are not innate nor automatic. how we react is entirely up to us.
i’m not perfect. by any stretch of the imagination. i struggle daily with how i react to the world around me. most of the time, reacting in a negative manner is the easiest way. but when i am able to muster the determination to choose a more positive reaction, i feel a peace wash over me. my mind is clearer and i feel more confident and in control.
question: what’s a time when you consciously chose to react in a different way to a situation?