In the heat of the moment it is a challenge to remember that just because we are invited to fight does not mean we have to RSVP. Being intensely emotional reactive, particularly with strangers, only results in toxicity in our body and theirs.
It's emotional poison we drink without even thinking. If we live in a city, it is not uncommon to see strangers yelling at each other, especially in traffic. Road-ragers are the worst.
She was texting with her back to one-way traffic, so I tapped my horn to alert her that a car (my car) was coming. It seems she was having a different experience. She turned around and started screaming at me. I cruised by her and parked. But not engaging was more difficult when I got out of my car. She ran up to me yelling, and my righteousness started doing flip-flops in my head. After all, I thought, "That's what horns are for!" That was the loud defensive truth blaring through my entitled head.
It's entirely possible for nice and lovely people like us to be provoked to act less than nicely. But there's a better way.
|Hijack my amygdala?|
We can observe anger, fear, or irritation without being swept away by anger, fear, or irritation.
The interesting part for me is that I have learned to become grateful for these emotionally-triggered encounters.
Getting a side of cray-cray with the kale I ordered was not on my Whole Foods' shopping list. Nor is it something I would ever request. However, the net result is being able to practice grounding myself in my values and being less emotionally reactive. This is something I am interested in. And it definitely takes practice.
I would far rather practice with an angry and rude stranger than with someone I actually want to continue a relationship with.