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Freaking Out At The Traffic Light


Make the damn turn already

Driving home from the youth conference yesterday I was at the traffic light waiting to turn right.

There were a couple of people in line before me.
The guy at the front of was not making his turn even though there was not much traffic.

Just Give Me a Sign

There was a sign under the traffic light saying “No right turn on red”.
Underneath it there was a smaller sign that said “Monday to Friday 4 to 6 p.m.”

He obviously didn’t see the smaller sign underneath so he thought he was not allowed to turn.
The people behind him started to honk like crazy
and obviously were very angry that he wasn’t turning.

An Opportunity to Meditate

I realized that he didn’t see the sign so I just took a deep breath
and kept on chatting with the others in the car with me.

Finally when the lights turned green he made his turn and we were all on our way.
We were probably delayed an extra minute and a half altogether.

I’m gonna teach him a lesson

The man that was directly behind him was clearly very very angry.
He chased him down, got beside him,
rolled down his window and started yelling at him.

I pulled up along the other side of
the guy who didn’t make the turn
and he was sandwiched between us.

Both of his windows were open
so I was able to hear what the angry man was yelling.
He was swearing and calling the guy all sorts of names.

Why Are You So Angry?

So I yelled back at him through the open windows of the car in the middle.

I said:
“Why are you yelling?
Have you never made a mistake before?

Even if he was completely wrong
what possible benefit is there to you
swearing and yelling at him like this?

Everyone makes mistakes buddy,
I don’t understand why you’re so angry.”

Stunned Into Silence

He wanted to argue with me,
but just had nothing to say.
Clearly what I was saying touched a nerve with him
and he just shook his head and drove off.

Life is Hard

While it is unfortunate that he acted that way, I don’t blame him.
I do understand where that feeling comes from.
Life is very difficult and we all hold a lot of trauma inside of us.

The seeds of discontent are sown in childhood

As we are growing up we are not taught
intelligent and effective ways to deal with our emotions.
We are not taught how to deal with
disappointment or obstacles with equanimity.

You Cannot Teach What You Do Not Know

I often hear parents say that kids need to learn to deal with disappointment,
but they themselves don’t actually know how to deal with disappointment.

Deny your emotions and shove the pain way way down!

The traditional method is to just make kids experience disappointment
and then tell them not to have genuine emotions around it
when they are upset.

In fact what kids really need is
a solid dose of love and empathy for their feelings of loss
when situations like that happen to them.

What you give to them they will learn to give to themselves

That way they learn to give that kind of love and understanding to themselves
and therefore don’t need to take out their feelings on others.

Rather than denying our kids their pain and struggle in those moments
it is more effective if we support them and love them through it.

Emotions are natural and the more we validate their feelings
the more comfortable with them they will become.

Laying a Solid Foundation

Hopefully in the future when they are behind somebody
who is not turning right because they didn’t see the sign
they will be able to just relax into the moment
rather than take it so personally.

Even when they are 30 years old
the foundation of love and understanding that you set down
will support them and make this possible.

Still healing after all these years

I myself have been working to heal the wounds
of my youth for many many years.

I work at giving myself love and understanding
when I am tempted to deny my natural feelings
and criticize myself harshly.

I am a completely different person inside than I was 20 years ago
because of the work that I have been doing.

And the work goes on because it is a lifelong process.
I have had to learn to have a lot of patience with this process.
There is a part of me that just wants it done and over with.
This is when I take a breath and relax my shoulders.

Working on myself helps me to offer the same to my child

The love that I am learning to give to myself
and the patience I am developing
allow me to pass on these qualities
more and more effectively to my daughter.

I do believe this is a good motivation to help keep me
on the path of self development.

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