We all have little problems, problems that we sweep under the rug because they don’t seem to be a big deal, or we don’t see how changing them will change anything else. We try to tackle bigger things, and sometimes that works out for us, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes these items are to big to tackle all at once. Smaller problems also take time, but not in the same way, they take a week or two of constant reminder and discipline instead of months of it. But they change our lives too, sometimes in ways we wouldn’t think.
I recently was in terrible 5 o’clock traffic and got cut off by someone who almost missed their exit. I cursed under my breath something terribly unkind and had a moment of clarity were I realized that that action didn’t warrant that insult. I’ve cut people off in traffic before and it really wasn’t that big of a deal, because more often then not, it’s a mistake. This break through thought kept circling back around every time I muttered something unkind in traffic, and I started to realize just how often I was doing it.
Maybe it just comes with working a job that makes you drive in rush hour, but my road rage was a little worse than I realized it. Not to the extent were it was making me drive in an angry manner, just in a way that made me say negative things. But it was effecting my view on people’s competence. I didn’t want to think all these people were the worst, but yet here I was, getting madder and madder at people who could have all sorts of reasons for doing what they do. Maybe someone had a crying baby in their back seat. Maybe someone was lost. Maybe I was in their blind spot. Maybe they didn’t actually know the speed limit. Or maybe they were just distracted by their own thoughts… that happens to the best of us.
So I decided to do an over haul. I decided I was going to try to get rid of my road rage. It’s didn’t work completely. I still get frustrated with people, sometimes I still mutter under my breath, but it’s not the insults it used to be, more a gentle, “come on”.
It’s led me to be less frustrated when I hit traffic, which means I’m less frustrated when I get home. That’s something that effected my mood more than I thought it would. I didn’t realize how annoyed I was getting during my drive home, but I’ve truly been happier since I’ve toned down my road rage. I’m a more understanding person too. I think insults towards people a lot less, and even if it’s just in the car, that’s still a big deal. I’m kinder.
It was a little problem, one I didn’t think too much about, but once I started thinking about it I started thinking about it a lot, because there is a lot weighing on our little problems. Starting with them is not only easier than starting with our big ones, but it makes us more equipped to handle the big ones. So start small, start today.