I was driving along the other morning absorbed in my own thoughts when I came to the sudden realisation that I had just jumped a red light and was looking round at angry faces giving me looks of ‘What the hell did you just do?’ Thankfully on this occasion the only thing bruised was my ego and no other damage was done to anybody or anything.
I was a little shaken but carried on to do my shopping. Formerly, I would have chastised myself and it would have gone a little something like this…. “You’re a terrible driver, what were you thinking, you idiot? You are not fit to be on the road, in fact you are not fit to be a mother if you can’t even drive properly. What other things are you terrible at? Ah, yes, now you come to mention it, you are a pretty lousy……” and so my thoughts would spiral downward and sap my energy and leave me feeling pretty rubbish. Not very helpful.
On this day, I chose to take a more positive approach and chose a different outcome which suited me much better. What opportunities could I take from this experience and how could it help me learn anything? A few things immediately came to mind.
The first is that you reap what you sow and that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones (or play Twister without any clothes on, but that’s another story). In other words, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge others when we ourselves are not so perfect. Only the other week, a motorist had done exactly the same thing whilst I was sat waiting to turn and I had chastised him or her (from the comfort of my own car seat) in a similar manner to how I had just been chastised. What I didn’t consider at the time was that he or she had probably not done it to deliberately irritate the other motorists or to put anyone in danger. It was just a mistake. I didn't know what was happening in their lives or why they may have done it, but it wasn’t my place to judge.
The second thing is that it is really important to focus on the present. The reason I jumped the first set of lights was because I was too busy looking beyond at the next set. If I had paid attention to where I was and not where I was going, I would have stopped. Sometimes in life we are so busy focusing our attention on the end goal or result that we forget to take notice of the present moment. Be aware of where you are in the present moment, do the best you can in the present moment and the end result will take care of itself.
Thirdly, I chose to tell myself that I was a good driver and that everyone has days like this. I chose to be grateful that no-one had been hurt. I chose that I was not going to let this affect the rest of my day. I chose to learn something from it, smile at what I had just learnt and then let it go.
Life throws curve balls ALL the time. Some trivial, some massive. It’s how we choose to react to them that makes all the difference.