MOST of the time I *try* to be a decent human being. I try to reflect on my behaviors – good, bad, and ugly – and to conduct myself in an upstanding way as much as I can.
I ALSO fall short plenty!
As human beings, we are subject to more influences than I think we ever want to admit (hell, even the moon has me all off kilter when it’s full!) We are subject to changes in mood, for so many reasons that it would be nigh impossible to list them all. But that’s okay. We are allowed to ebb and flow, because that is just the nature of life. We don’t have to be perfect all the time, and even if we have some grandiose notion that we’d like to be. . .it doesn’t always play out that way.
But the other day a thought came to mind that stopped me right in the middle of my “if-the-car-in-front-of-me-doesn’t-speed-up-I’m-going-to-go-nuts!” rant. It was such a jarring thought that my attitude shifted. Instantaneously.
I have the wonderful fortune of volunteering with children with disabilities with two organizations – I’ve never found something that lit my heart quite as much (and that’s saying a LOT, as I am a truly passionate person about my life, my activities, and the careers I have had.) I love the kids, and I love meeting their parents – learning about them, their individualities, and what makes them happy, is an overwhelming joy.
So as I was having this moment of “can’t stand anyone” (and I think it was in reaction to a woman tailgating on the highway and giving me the middle finger, despite that I had no idea what I did to warrant it) I thought to myself. . .
What if the person in that car who I’m getting all flustered because of, or at, was one of the parents of the kids I get to work with? Would I act the same way?
I wasn’t *trying* to give myself a guilt trip, or make myself feel badly. When my behavior deviates – and I think it’s fair to say, as adults, we generally know when we are being unreasonable and inappropriate with our reactions (should we choose to be honest with ourselves!) – I am aware of it. I do try to correct myself and in effort to curb poor actions, I have said to myself everything from “you never know who has a weapon!” “you can’t take back what you say,” to “that really doesn’t make me a good person to flip someone off”…!
Doesn’t always seem to calm me down, though!
But. . .the thought that it *could be* someone in a situation such as the families whose children I work with shut me down pronto.
I would never want to behave that way with one of them. And when I think about it, I can’t imagine I really want to act that way with ANYone. What does reacting poorly say about me anyway? Nothing grand, I assure you!
When I think about it, it makes me feel sad that I would allow temporary emotions to overcome me in such a way that I lash out – in any regard. As a human being, I know it is bound to happen, and that expecting myself to be Miss. Goody Twoshoes is NOT realistic. But because I don’t know what other people are facing, and because I also know how blessed I am, I appreciated the supernal reminder. . .which stopped me from getting angry, or for the woman who flipped me off to ruin more than the few seconds of my day during which she did so.
I know I’m going to fall short sometimes, but that moment was one I know I will remember. . .
I have the blessing to work with those who have a journey fraught with challenges, and I LOVE the work because I have the opportunity to make lives better. To behave poorly as a result of flared emotions is to contribute in a negative way, and I will suffer personally when I choose that route. The only thing that would make it worse is to also hurt someone else who didn’t deserve it to begin with…and I’d say I don’t really want to decide that someone deserves any of that.