Hit From Behind, Literally
Accidents happen and are inevitable in life. We've all experienced unfortunate situations. How we react can either make the situation better or worse. Last month, while stopped at an intersection and without warning, I was rear ended.
Fortunately, the driver slammed on his breaks leaving 25 feet of skid marks prior to the impact. This definitely reduced the severity of the accident. He was cited for "inattentive driving."
Dazed and startled, I took a few moment to compose myself before leaving my vehicle. Walking back to assess the situation, I was glad to see the young boy out of his car was unharmed. The front of his car, however, was smashed in and not drivable.
As I walked up to him, I repeatedly asked if he was alright. The look on his face was one of fear, disbelief and concern. The reality of what just happened was a shock to both of us. Instinctively, my reaction was to make sure neither of us was seriously hurt, contact the police, and deal with the accident as best I could.
While waiting, I talked with him. He was heading home from football practice and for whatever reason wasn't paying attention. We've all been distracted while driving and this accident was a reminder of how quickly that distraction can turn into a bad situation. Rather than get angry, I chose to embrace three components that I've found to make life better: Perspective, Grace, and Cushion or Margin.
I saw his perspective. He knew he was at fault and felt bad. His most priceless asset, his car, was probably totaled which would prove to be a major inconvenience, a costly replacement, and a financial increase to his insurance rates. He had called his father who was on his way to the scene and although he was uninjured, he felt the burden of causing the accident.
I chose to give him grace and comfort him by telling him everything would be fine. Neither of us were seriously injured and that's by far the most important thing. Accidents happen.
The fact that I had space between me and the vehicle in front of me kept this from being a multi-car accident. Too often, we don't leave a margin and, consequently, this increases stress and accidents. A great lesson and reminder to allow cushion as we go through life.
Life is unpredictable. Although we may "think" we are in control, the truth is, there is very little we can control. Wisdom knows to embrace what we can control and not waste energy on what we can't control. We are human and humans make mistakes. When we remember this, it makes it easier to apply the three Lucyisms that reduce stress and conflict: Perspective, Grace and Cushion.
Our attitude and outlook are two things we can control. Choosing an attitude of gratitude and appreciation enhances one's well-being emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
The bad news is every day presents stressful situations in our lives. The good news is this provides ample opportunity to practice developing a calmer, wiser, and more joyful person. In a world of darkness, be a source of light. As Gandhi stated, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
Until next month,
TCOY = Take Care of You