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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Calm Down

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

Life's moments bring surprises.  Sometimes they are welcomed but sometimes the news can be complex therefore invoking feelings of loss, bewilderment or even shock.  

I noticed today while I was first in line at the red light that a guy on foot was rushing across the street.   At the same time the green light went off signaling the left turning lane to move forward.  Approaching the intersection a guy in an old chevy trying to get on the freeway started honking at the guy like crazy.  He actually came dangerously close to hitting the poor guy.  As I watched this most unfortunate display of noise pollution the guy behind the wheel was visibly cursing at the guy as he passed.  

Sometimes I wonder.   Why are some people so aggressive?  Why are some people so quick to get angry?  Why do we insist on reacting instead of taking a breath and putting ourselves in other peoples shoes?

What if that guy rushing across the street got an emergency phone call about his child being sick at school and while trying to get there his car broke down and he was rushing to catch a bus?  

Haven't we all at some point in our lives been new at something, made a mistake or bumped into someone on accident because we were distracted by some unwelcome event that happened to us?

I am not making excuses for all of us.  I  am simply trying to give us another perspective of what the possibilities could be.  The how-to's and/or what-if's of what is going on in the lives of our fellow human beings.  Sometimes we are in the wrong and we should be more careful but sometimes we get surprised by life and the outcome can have an adverse affect on us.  

I remember when I got the call that the woman I called mother, had past away.  I was shooting a promo for the Fox Reality network and happened to be in the hall when my phone vibrated in my hand.  I was in such shock by the "mom just died" coming through my phone, that I felt like I was walking around in circles.  I just kept saying, "I am not sure what I am supposed to do now".  Needless to say, my boss responded with, "You need to go home now".  So I gathered up my tears and I got behind the wheel of the Toyota I had been driving at the time and headed home.  I don't even remember the drive.  I just remember having to constantly wipe away the tears that threatened to drown me.  

The possibility that I may have cut someone off by accident on that drive home is highly plausible.  Did that person curse me out?  Did it make them feel better?  I wouldn't know.  I was too preoccupied by shock and grief.  But I am sorry if I cut anyone off.  Just like I am sure that whoever else is out there and finds themselves in a predicament of being late, or suffering, or rushing to the hospital for whatever reason, they are sorry too.  Right?

Maybe we should keep in mind that sometimes life isn't nice to us.  Sometimes we get hurt.  Sometimes we get lost.  We are all people.  And who are we not to be accountable and deal with our issues and come to terms with our transferences and stop inflicting our own shit on others?   

If we could all just calm down and try to have some empathy I believe that it would help us in our delivery.  It would help us see things and people for what they could be.  Hopefully people aren't out to get us on purpose, so why would we treat them that way?  

Why would we choose to "come at someone" instead of talking to them?  Why would we choose to put someone on the defensive instead of inviting them to engage with us?  Who are we to put ourselves on such a pedastel that we would ever talk down to someone or treat them with disrespect?   

We are all in this together and it is so very important for us all to remember that we get what we give out.  The way we choose to interact with others sets the precedence for what the Universe will give back to us.  If we are that angry then we will find ourselves in situations that keep us angry.  If we are happy people we will see and find the happiness in everything around us.   

If we can train ourselves to be soothing, unruffled, and even-tempered then we will be more apt to approach life and our fellow inhabitants with peace, serenity and kindness.  

How about the next time someone does something that offends you or cuts you off, you stop and think something positive in their direction.  Hope that everything works out for them and move on with your life.  Wishing harmony for others can help you know it for yourself.

Wouldn't you want someone to treat you with kindness if the shoe was on the other foot?


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Words on Screen & Words on Paper

  • Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
  • Casablanca (1942)
  • Chocolat (2000)
  • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffer, Ph.D.
  • Harold and Maude (1971)
  • Invictus (2009)
  • On The Waterfront (1954)
  • Singin in the Rain (1952)
  • The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield
  • The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino
  • The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  • The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • West Side Story (1961)
  • What Happy People Know, Dan Baker


  • Use Somebody, Kings of Leon
  • You're Beautiful, James Blunt
  • Love, Love, Love, Tristan Prettyman
  • Just Fine, Mary J. Blige
  • Banana Pancakes, Jack Johnson
  • You and Me, Dave Matthews
  • Just Breathe, Pearl Jam