The other day, I was trying to back out of a tight spot.
A huge Comcast van, to my right, blocked my ability to see oncoming traffic. I nudged out slowly, terrified to get nicked, but I couldn’t see beyond the van.
I fed the gas, not hard, but just enough to see, and a man came out of nowhere, walking very closely to where I was pulling out. I almost hit him. Ugh!
He made it clear as he slapped my car violently and then came around to the front of my car and proceeded to chew me out. The window was up, but his shouting pierced through the glass.
I was astonished by his rage.
He could have walked on the sidewalk instead of behind cars with blind spots. His anger made me defensive, but I had just come from a yoga class, so instead of reacting, which is so easy for me to do when I’m already running late, have fifty thousand things to do, clients waiting for me, yadda, yadda, yadda, I put the window down and calmly said, “I can’t see beyond the van, and I am sorry if I scared you.”
I saw him prepared to duke it out, as if he had already assumed I was going to fight fire with fire.
The post-yoga calmness I exuded struck him by surprise.
He was about to yell at me some more until he realized I was both validating his fear and taking responsibility. Disgruntled, he murmured to himself as he wandered off. I think he said, “Be more careful next time.”
Though I could have counter argued and fought him till I was blue in the face, I didn’t even go there. The guy could have just gotten dumped, fired, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, felt genuinely threatened and frightened. I surely didn’t want to exacerbate whatever issues he had.
It is so easy to get pulled into someone else’s drama and take things personally.
I know I am not perfect. I do take things personally, but the more I do NOT react to someone else’s trip, even if I have had a part to play in it, the more I free myself from the fight.
The way someone reacts (most of the time) is about him/her, not me. And not you.
Choose your battles wisely and try not to take things personally. You will find that if you practice this, every time you have one of those knee-jerk reactions, life will be simpler.
I have shared a great story about how to not take things personally. How do you react in heated situations? How often do you take things personally? I’d love to hear from you.
Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit hayleyhobson.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.