“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
— M Kathleen Casey
“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”
— William Shakespeare
You pull up behind another car in line at the light. You know it is a notoriously short light. The light turns green and the car in front just sits there. What do you do? The car in front of them has already entered the intersection. What do you do? Honk! Right? You honk. Maybe even say a few pointed words at the idiot in the car in front of you. Who the hell do they think they are holding you up today? You say, ‘don’t they realize what a short light this is and I am going to have to sit through this stupid light again if you don’t get your _____ moving.’ That’s about it, isn’t it? Sounds pretty familiar to me from my memory.
Well. . . that’s one scenario. That’s one way. What about a different way? How about, you say nothing, are not the least bit irritated and that you may even be slightly fascinated by how long it is taking for the driver in front of you to realize what is going on. How about if the people behind you are honking, that you could care less, and even find it laughable that they are so rattled by a temporary pause in the traffic flow. How about if you just smile and enjoy the time waiting for the movement to begin again?
Me ruffled? Used to be ruffled quite regularly–daily in fact. Now it is the second scenario. It is wildly fun! In fact, I’ve ended up sitting through a few lights again without the slightest complaint. No stress. It is a very enjoyable change, and anyone can do it if they wanted to. But, most that I know like honking, getting upset, saying some quaint phrases, pounding on the steering wheel and stressing their passengers. And, for what? A few seconds? Another minute and a half?
Suffering is optional. We all have the power to choose it, or not. I vote not.
Ever had anything stolen from you? Remember how angry and violated you felt? Remember how you told everyone you knew and spoke of it often as if the story you got from the act of the theft was somehow validating your existence? Remember how you wanted to start a group, a petition, make calls to the law enforcement advocacy to get more cops on the beat so that crime could go down? Maybe you talked about it on Facebook or at work to all your coworkers. Telling the story over and over of your vast loss and getting vaster by the telling. The sympathetic outpouring was understandably in your favor since you were the victim and all.
Or, maybe there is another way. You aren’t upset at all. Maybe you even pray for the thief, or send positive thoughts to help them along their path, realizing that this was a desperate act by a person who became desperate. Maybe you realized how much you have and how you may not even miss the thing that went away. Or, maybe you are just neutral about it, matter of fact and move along to more important things.
Indeed, the robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief. How interesting and poignant that can be.
I Choose How I Will Feel About Any Circumstance Or Event. I Choose, Not Another.
Spread Some Joy Today–Take charge of how you feel by deciding how you want to feel. Don’t let others dictate that to you. Me either. You choose. They are your feelings. If it works for you, it’s good.