It's Not Just About You...

   Have you ever seen a car that takes up two parking spaces?  Or a car that is parked in a handicapped spot but has no handicapped placard or license plate?  Or a car that stops two lanes of traffic because he/she is pulling out of a Dunkin and wants to make a left turn?  My guess is the answer is yes to all of the above.

   So what do all of these drivers have in common?  Well, they seem to believe that their feelings, circumstances and things (such as time) are more important than everyone else’s.  EVERYONE else’s.  And that’s just not right.

   Driving is often a wonderful opportunity to witness this type of behavior.  It sometimes seems as if when people get behind the wheel and are contained in a metal box, they forget that other people exist.  Drives sometimes seem to forget that their own, more subtle behaviors and what they decide to do in and with their vehicles directly impacts others, almost as if they have forgotten that there are other people in the other metal boxes around them.

   Well, I’m here to remind everyone that this world is not just about you.  You are not the only person nor the only one with feelings or circumstances or things going on.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has feelings, circumstances and things going on.  And nobody’s are more important than anyone else’s.

   But (because there is a big but here), your feelings, circumstances and things are and should be more important to you than someone else’s feelings, circumstances and things.  This, however, does not mean that you should simply stop considering others.  That’s not a nice way to be.    It is not a kind or loving way to exist in this world that is simply full of others.

   Think of it like two circles that look like this…

   Now imagine that you are the green circle and your friend is the blue circle.  You each have your own lives (your circles) however there is a place where you come together and share time and space with one another, which is the turquoise oval in the center.  You are each your own person (or circles) yet you are able to join with one another and become something different than a circle.  Something even more, because without each of you, the shape and turquoise color simply can’t exist.   

   Now imagine that the blue circle is a stranger that you see in the car next to you.  Again, you are each your own person, your own circles, however you are joined in time and space while you share the road with one another.  You, the green-circle person, is trusting the blue-circle person to stay in the correct lane and not cause an accident.  And the blue-circle person is trusting that you will do the same.  It is an unspoken understanding.  Plus, there is the element of self-preservation at work here as well.

   Now imagine if the blue-circle person decides that he/she needs to get someplace fast and is willing to take some risks…and cuts you off, causing you to slam on your breaks, which causes the person behind you to plow into the back of your car.

   Was the blue-circle person thinking of others, thinking of you?  Did the blue-circle person consider the possible ripple effect of his/her decision?  Maybe.  But maybe not.  And if he/she did consider potential outcomes, that seems to be a pretty selfish action seeing as how there was disregard for the safety and wellness of the person in the car behind, which just happened to be you.  I’m guessing you’d agree.

   Now imagine that the blue-circle person DID think of the other vehicles on the road.  And thought, “Oh, if I cut this car off, it could cause an accident and while I might get to where I need to go a little faster, an accident will most certainly slow down that person’s day.  And the person behind them. And all of the other people on the road.”  Do you see what I’m driving at?

   See, our decisions, regardless of how small and insignificant, impact others, often in ways we don’t consider.  So what would happen if people started keeping others in mind while at the same time working toward getting their own needs met?  What would happen if people started recognizing that while everyone’s needs are critical to each person, it doesn’t mean that those are the only needs that should be thought of?  What would happen if people started considering the ripple effect of all decisions and start to keep the feelings, circumstances and things of others in mind as he/she makes decisions?

   My guess is that people would not only get along better and be kinder to one another, but that there might be some improved connection with others, which often leads to improved self-worth and self-esteem.  Being connected is very powerful and generally makes people feel better about themselves.   So really, being kind and thoughtful is a win/win.  And everyone benefits.

   And you, yes YOU deserve to feel connected and receive the benefits of kindness and thoughtfulness.  And so does the blue-circle person.