I decided to study Marriage and Family Therapy because I believe that none of us live in isolation. We are directly and indirectly affected by others daily. No matter if it is with the grocery store clerk, a neighbor passing on the sidewalk, co-workers, or family…we are undoubtedly connected and influenced by others.
What you are willing to consider? It is often the case that we go about our day, doing what we do, sometimes just trying to muddle through. One day I was driving home, slowing down as I was approaching an intersection with a red light. In my rearview mirror I saw a “horrible driver! maniac!” (and other expletives not appropriate here) flying toward the intersection assuming he was going to try to beat the red light that he was clearly not going to make. He was honking his horn wildly, swerving around other cars. I was mad! How dare he drive like such an idiot putting others at risk! Running a red light!? As I slowed to a stop, he had slowed some, but clearly had no intention of stopping. Fearing witnessing an accident I tried honking my horn both out of anger but also fear. As he passed I saw that in the backseat of his car was a woman and a small child. It was clear that the child was screaming as her mother held a very bloody rag to her head. Oh. They were on their way to the children’s hospital just up the road. All of a sudden my anger and incense turned to horror as I imagined what they must be going through. And that poor kid…my heart hurt for them and was glad they made it through the intersection safely. Just a couple more blocks to go until the child got care.
I sat there for a moment after they passed and after the light had turned green. I found I had tears in my eyes. For the remainder of the drive home I thought about this. If I had not seen the child in the backseat I would have gone about my day left with a very different experience. I thought of all the other times that my perceptions have likely, not just been wrong, but very wrong. Perhaps I cling to these misperceptions and let them color the rest of my day. I vowed that day, many years ago now, that when I was feeling a strong negative emotion I would think of this experience and be careful to try and consider something else…someone else’s reality of which I may never know. In the scheme of things I have no clue what others are going through and similarly they often don’t know about mine, however, we are all connected. So…what are you willing to consider?