Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Driving Kindly

     Today I decided that when I was out driving around to all the places I needed to go, I would pay particular attention to opportunities to let people go in front of me and/or to let them merge into traffic.  There were a couple of things I noticed when I did this.
     The first thing that struck me was just how many opportunities to be kind to other drivers there were.  More than I expected.  Of course there are the obvious ones like when you alternate turns merging or coming out of a parking lot.  Then there are the times when someone is trying to make a left turn, but they simply can't find a break in traffic.  It's nice to stop and give them a chance to go.  Or what about letting someone else have that parking spot you were going after, instead of "competing" for it.  All of these create opportunities to be nice.
     The second thing I noticed was how being a kinder driver made me feel.  It was so much more peaceful, more relaxing, and less stressful.  It's amazing how often we "fight" traffic.  In fact, we often use that very word - "fight."  We see the roads as a battleground where we try to beat the other driver for a spot in the flow, or we hold our position without allowing others to get in, as if we somehow "win" when we do this.  And of course, on the extreme end of this spectrum are those who beep or yell at others, or sometimes literally fight with them - once again seeing it as a battle to be won.  I find that when I can stop  thinking this way reflexively, and instead can simply be kind to everyone else, being on the roads is a much more pleasant experience.  

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