I’ve read and heard many times that lessons will be repeated until they are learned. It can be a painful process but a necessary one in order to become better versions of ourselves. As hard as I try to learn from my experiences the first time, there are some that just seem to be tougher to grasp. One in particular is the concept of choosing how to respond in less than ideal situations.
We had scheduled a ride to the old city of Chang Mai at 8:30 AM since we were staying far out of town. We were excited about a full morning of temple hopping. We got on the road when our driver received a call that two other guests in our villa needed a ride as well. We hadn’t driven too far so we hurriedly turned around to pick them up. We got back to the villa quickly, and then we waited. We waited for over 30 minutes for these two people. I was starting to feel myself get worked up and frustrated because I really hate when people waste my time. I think it’s so disrespectful. When they finally jumped into the car, I was fully irritated. The girl said, “Oh, have you been waiting? We had no idea you were waiting.” I snapped and said, “Yes we have been waiting for over 30 minutes” with a bit of harshness and annoyance in my voice.
I turned my head and gazed out the window gritting my teeth; so annoyed that we had just lost precious time in Chang Mai, a city we would only be in for a few days.
The girl started asking us where we were from and the other typical travel questions. I answered curtly and continued to stare out the window. Then it dawned on me… This girl has no idea how much stress is in my body because of her actions. She didn’t even purposely waste my time and in fact, as she had said, they didn’t even know we were waiting for them. Why was I taking out my frustration on her?
It became clear to me that my source of anger and frustration was my own doing. It was my choice to react this way. Once I realized I had a choice in the matter, I decided to take a deep breathe, forgive the waiting time and try and make the best of the ride.
We started to engage in conversation about how she quit her job and stepping outside the box to do something more creative with her talents. She shared with me her passion about living in America as a Korean-American and how she hopes to raise more awareness about racial equality. I had the opportunity to share my story with her and by the end of the car ride I had a new friend and we were both inspired.
I would have missed out on this opportunity entirely if I had continued to bathe in my frustration. I was reminded that we should not let people rent space for free and that we get to decide how we respond to situations. What would happen if you just decided to let go of something that was causing you stress? Is someone in your life annoying you? Are you allowing them to rent space for free?
Perhaps you could let go of the frustration or anger and see how it feels. Chances are, the other person may have no idea you’re feeling this way. Once you let go I promise you will feel so much better and perhaps even make a new friend.