Ever wonder whether the only person your sense of right and wrong is hurting is you?
Here’s the scenario. I’m driving through my neighborhood and I come up to a stop sign. Now, we don’t just have regular old stop signs, we have speed-bump stop signs. So, you really have to stop. Or risk losing your shocks.
But the bump only goes half way across the road. So, if you really wanted to blow off the stop sign and the speed bump, you could, theoretically, swerve out into the oncoming lane, go around the speed bump and blow through the stop sign.
Seems like a lot of work to me to break the law.
But, not to the person in the car behind me. As I pulled up to the stop sign, the guy behind me swerved out around me, around the speed bump, zipped through the stop sign and took off down the road.
Son of a…
Who the hell was he to not only cut in front of me, but break the law?! I was instantly peeved (missed my morning meditation that day), so I did what every red-blooded, self-righteous New Yorker does…
I gave chase.
At least for about a block when reality sank in and I started to laugh and wonder what the hell I was doing. Yes, the guy broke the law. Yes, he went in front of me. But, no, I am NOT the cops. And, no, his actions did not in any impede my progress or take anything from me that I was entitled to. Whether he sped around me or not, I was committed to the speed-bump stop sign.
So, beyond just being stupid (what was I gonna do if I actually caught up with the guy? Give him the finger and run for my life?!), getting my dander up and giving chase was only hurting me. It was mental and emotional energy spent on someone I didn’t know and didn’t care about.
And, it was time and energy invested on a situation that had no direct negative impact on me, beyond my decision to allow my sense of self-righteousness to get the best of me.
It took me a block to realize this and consciously choose to let it go.
But, it made me wonder how much of any given day we devote to judging or condemning people for choices and actions that have real no impact on us, just because we can. I wonder how much more time we might have to enjoy life, if we cultivated a regular practice of stepping back and asking what we’re really so pissed off about.
I wonder what might happen if made a conscious effort to stop rolling through the day as judge and jury and, instead, devoted that very same energy to enjoying the gifts that are presented at any given moment.
These are the things I wonder about. And, increasingly, try to act upon.
What about you?
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