When tempers flare

how to avert disaster

I had intended to write about the role values play in our everyday lives...however, I had a most entertaining encounter this morning that I wish to share, as it may shed some light on how to handle the simmering and sometimes overt feelings expressed by others (particularly in our current state of affairs).

Here's what happened (part 1):

Minding my own business, I drove down to the DMV to renew a car registration.

Yup. The DMV - Department of Motor Vehicles; a place that is generally considered to be full of irrepressible joy and 21st century efficiency.

(insert sarcasm please)

Suffice to say,

I was prepared for a long wait amongst not-so-happy people.

I was not, however, prepared for an over-the-top irate driver in the DMV parking lot!

Here's what happened (part 2):

Humming along, trying to scope out a parking spot, I suddenly found myself coming to an abrupt stop as a car (which had been parked) began pulling out directly in front of my path in an attempt to adjust its' positioning.

Apparently affronted by my close proximity, the driver uttered a multitude of choice words in my direction.

"Wow," I thought to myself, "he is TICKED OFF. I wonder what he thinks I did to explain his current mood."

Once his "adjustments" were complete, I carried on my search and quickly found a spot just 4 spaces away.

"This should be interesting," I thought, as I got out of the car.

Sure enough, the lovely red faced gentleman with the clenched jaw headed my way.

We locked eyes.

He didn't hesitate, "It's not a raceway, you know!!!!"

Smiling, I countered, "I know. That's why I was driving less than 10 miles per hour."

He grumbled and glared. 

Not deterred, I looked up at the sky and proclaimed with a smile,

"It's too beautiful a day to be angry!"

Well, that did it.

His facade broke as he took a breath, looked around and said, "You're right. I'm sorry. It is too beautiful a day to be angry."

I smiled back knowing that he was now released to continue his day in the mood of his choosing rather than as a reaction or a default.

Regardless of how this man responded...

I knew the power resided in me and me alone to determine and freely choose my own state of mind.

As I had gotten out of the car, I had consciously decided to remain in control of my state of calm and internally dismiss any thoughts that may have led me in another direction.

By doing so, I was able to determine how I showed up in the conversation.

What the gentleman couldn't see in his state of anger was that I was not responsible for his anger; his thoughts were responsible.

When he discovered and accepted a new thought, "it's too beautiful a day to be angry," his feelings changed.

Notice...nothing else had changed.

I, the one he thought had caused his anger, was still standing in front of him.

And yet, the feeling of anger had dissipated.

While the circumstance remained the same, his thinking about the circumstance had changed...with new thought.

As a result, he could no longer hold onto his anger as it no longer aligned with his new thought.

What could easily have transformed into an uncomfortable confrontation, turned into a revelation and relatively pleasant encounter with a stranger.

And NO, I did NOT key his car upon returning to the parking lot!!

The thought never crossed my mind ;))