The compassion that drives you

As I was driving to work the other day, I was feeling stressed out and frustrated – which is unusual for me. So here I was, zigzagging impatiently between slower-going cars and driving faster than the speed limit. We all have days like this, when we feel overwhelmed, tense, frustrated and unhappy – that’s what happens when you’re in a human body. On some level, I was aware that this behaviour wasn’t good or safe, but I just couldn’t help myself. I eventually calmed down later in the day, but I remember this feeling – it felt terrible.

Why I am telling you this? Because this experience has changed the way I see other drivers now. I used to get annoyed when other drivers would cut in front of me or speed by me, driving like their hair was on fire. I would say to myself things like, “Why don’t you just leave home earlier, so you have more time to get to work?”, or “You love your work so much that you can’t wait to get to work, right? That’s why you’re driving so fast?”

But now, when I see speeding drivers, I see people who are stressed out, maybe overwhelmed, frustrated, unhappy. They aren’t in a good place at that moment. They are suffering. They don’t need my sarcasm. They need my understanding and my compassion. And that’s what I feel when I see that now. I feel compassion for them. And that makes me feel good. It changes my whole outlook for the day.

So next time you’re in a similar situation, try viewing it from the perspective that these drivers are suffering. I guarantee you it feels much better.

In the end, it’s your choice, really. I choose feeling good over feeling frustrated.

What do you have to lose? Give it a try.

– Sylvie Grégoire