Aggressive Drivers and Letting It Go.

This morning on my way to work I got beeped at.

Repeatedly.

There was a long queue of us, waiting to go through the traffic lights (the robot) and the driver behind me clearly didn’t want to wait. So he beeped his horn. And beeped it some more. And gesticulated at me in an angry looking manner, and beeped some more.

And it felt horrible.

I felt embarrassed and I felt intimidated.

And then, I felt defensive and I felt angry.

And as the traffic cleared and we started to pull away I found myself speaking to myself about how I wasn’t even doing anything wrong! And what did the guy expect me to do – there was nowhere to move! And what even is his problem?! And as I played these thoughts over in my head I could feel my stomach begin to tie itself in knots and my heart rate start to quicken, and my hands begin to shake. And I felt even angrier; angry that I had been driving to work quite happily, having a fantastic start to the day, winning at life and then this idiot had ruined it. He had taken away my good mood.

Can you relate?

In that moment, the unlikely but apparently inspirational voice of Queen Elsa of Arendelle interrupted my thoughts with her profound catchphrase; “Let it Go”. And I realised that I had given way too much power to the guy beeping his horn at me. I was believing that he had ruined my day, but actually, my decision to replay his actions over and over in my head, and to analyse them and try to understand them and defend my own actions was what was about to ruin my day. And so, I decided to let it go.

Letting it go, for me, always looks like speaking the thoughts out loud. When we play the internal conversation in our heads it grows, it becomes bigger. So when we speak the thoughts out loud it cuts through the negative cycle and helps us take control of our thinking.

This morning, my Letting it Go talk went a little something like this:

Helen: (to self) You are feeling upset and embarrassed that this guy beeped his horn at you, in front of lots of other people, as if you were in the wrong or a bad driver.

The truth is that his beeping has nothing to do with you, or your driving. It is entirely to do with his mood. And, even if you had made a mistake in your driving, so what – we all make mistakes.

If you choose to think over and over about that man’s behaviour and whether his beeping was justified or not, you will spoil your day. You will continue to feel embarrassed and frustrated and angry and your day will have been taken away from you.

So, instead, lets choose to see that his behaviour is his. And yours is yours. And lets choose to remember that your driving abilities, or the perception of your driving abilities by a complete stranger, are not of importance, they do not reflect who you are or what you do, and so now choose to let go of the thoughts about that incident, and choose to think about what you are going to do when you get to work that is a reflection of who you are and what you do.

And I did. l chose to let it go, and I chose to think about the what next. And now here I am finishing writing a blog I had not intended to, which I hope will also help you choose to let it go in stressful moments, and I’m actually quite thankful to that beeping man for giving me the opportunity to take charge of my thoughts and to see just how powerful my mind is, I’m thankful that I can choose to let it go and move on – and so can you.