Everyone shares bad days. In fact, shared so much through stories and vent fests, bad days and bad encounters appear running amuck. It’s too often people remark about bad experiences. When something bad happens human nature just insists on getting it off our chests, so to speak. However, sometimes it’s best to find the good in things. Which brings us to my point: what do we do in moments of bad news or a torrent of road rage? What do we do when we feel overwhelmed with a complete snowball effect of bad moment after bad moment, wishing we’d never once rose from our bed that morning?
The answer may sound silly and simple. Depending on one’s viewpoint it may just sound corny. I’m not suggesting we by any means enable the bad moments. Yet, when we turn around and fire off a quick outburst to the out of control or aggressive driver, we’ve indeed enabled their actions. They know they got to us. They won. If anything, they’ve made us look less poised and cool. When a co-worker slights us, lashing out in a counter attack makes it seem like our own standards lowered. We’re behaving no better than the instigator. And, frankly, two wrongs don’t make a right. Maybe our husband made a low blow comment in the middle of a heated discussion. Is it right to just lash out back? Easier said than done, I’ll confess, but no. It only adds to the heat of the debate and wounds. It’s words we cannot take back no matter how much we wish.
So, just what do we do in these moments? We rise above them. Aggressive driver tailgating you? Drive the speed limit based on the driving conditions also and hold your temper in check. Or pull over and let them pass. Then go about our own way again. I frequently feel sorry for the driver. Sure, it might infuriate me at first. Then, the more I think about it, I start wondering what horrible news did they just receive? Perhaps there’s a meeting they were delayed for by another meeting. Did their alarm fail to go off? Could they just have learned their loved one was dying? And, of course, a lot of times there’s just the thought they could just be super rude and selfish. I’m sure when I’ve been in a rushed mood or responding to something I’ve gotten a bit more aggressive myself. But stopping to review on that, I find myself feeling sorry for them and that it’s easier to just let go.
And sometimes kindness is simply the best weapon. Think of the person who always has something cutting to say. Ever notice how once you smile at them and say have a nice day it makes them cringe and appear more annoyed? Because you’ve risen above that. You didn’t lose your integrity. You didn’t join their misery. You stayed happy and content with yourself and didn’t change to match their needs. Eventually they figure it out, right? Even when I have days with rude or short customers in any line of work I’ve encountered, and I know we all have those types, I find the old philosophy of smiling even though they cannot see us keeps ringing true. We stay positive. We stay happy about our own lives outside that call. Not to mention we also sound more pleasant. Ever notice how it softens them in a majority of cases? In that instant, we just celebrated our own victory, our own composure, our own poise, and our own good fortune that we’re not as in a mess as the individual behaving badly. Now, we seem to possess something astounding. We become the example and we’ve soothed their nerves too.
So, not saying it will be easy, but the next time we encounter an obstacle to our day, let’s just remember that. Let’s even say we’re not going to let the bad moment win. Fighting with our significant other, lay off the angry words and names too. Just watch how quickly a situation deescalates and our breathing goes undisturbed…. Take a deep breath, think before responding, rise above it….
There! Now doesn’t that feel better?