Day 230: Who Is The Real Idiot?

So an interesting point came up in a discussion recently in regard to taking responsibility for where we go into a kind of superiority toward others. An example came up of going into a point of superiority toward other drivers on the road who aren't driving as fast or as 'good' as you and where you would get annoyed like 'come on, what the heck, why are you going so slow??' and maybe try to get around them and such. I'm sure maaaaaany can relate to this point, as you can see it happening all the time on the road, it's a pretty common occurrence.

It's even got to a point where it's like we forget that we're not in a private universe in our car where no one can see us and will totally go into a reaction toward another driver and pull a face, throw hands up in the air and make all kinds of gestures – as if they can't see us right there having this reaction toward them. And in some cases, some people don't care if they are seen and it's like they actually want to make some kind of confrontation out of it. I actually witnessed this the other day while I was just departing a local fast food establishment and there were two cars, trying to get by each other and it didn't go quite smoothly, and one person reacted with an angry face and throwing hands up, and so the other in turn reacted, got out of the car and walked over saying things like 'What – you got a problem??' sort of thing, this being a kind of extreme example because nothing really even happened, they didn't hit each other or anything.

In another moment I remember I was backing down a driveway and then needed to turn into another driveway on the side, and at the same moment someone was coming down that driveway that I needed to turn into. They didn't realize that I needed to go down that driveway, and so had not left space for me to turn into it, and so I had to pull forward to let them out, and they went into a 'what the heck are you doing??' kind of reaction and made a 'nasty' face and threw their hands up, all right in front of me, and in that moment I could really see how going into such a reaction is really totally ludicrous, because I wasn't doing anything 'wrong' or 'stupid' there was just a lack of understanding of what was going on in that moment. Especially with driving, it is difficult to communicate because you can't readily talk to the other person and are limited to simple hand gestures and turn signals that can only communicate so much.

So this brings up a kind of larger point that goes beyond just driving – that we tend to go into a perception that other people are apparently idiots when they are doing something that we don't in that moment understand, or have the context to see what is really going on. And in that moment in our lack of understanding, instead of stopping and saying to ourself, 'hm I don't understand why this person is doing this or that, let me see if there are any factors that I can notice that might help explain what is going on, or what information could I be missing that would make this scenario make sense' we instead go into a reaction toward the other person like there must be something wrong with them or they are idiots with like an assumption that they shouldn't be doing whatever they are doing or how they are doing it – when we don't even have all the information and don't even know what is going on. So who is the real idiot in that?

What such experiences have helped me to realize is that when I go into some kind of superiority reaction toward others – that I am the one being an idiot, because I am not seeking to understand the situation, or possibly find a solution for it, or perhaps consider how I could possibly help another person who seems to be doing something in an ineffective way and I might know of a better way. How ridiculous is it to get annoyed at a situation, which would imply that we don't want such a situation to be taking place, but then not look for a solution to the situation, or get some understanding so that we could see that maybe our expectations are not aligned with reality, and we are expecting that which isn't possible. Like for example when we are getting annoyed at someone who is driving slow – maybe they are old and have poor eyesight and have no one to drive them, or maybe their car only goes so fast.

I myself once had a car that probably wasn't worth the $500 that I bought it for. It had virtually no acceleration and was pretty horrifying to drive, especially when trying to turn onto or cross a busy road, because you have to have eeeeeextra room to get out because the car moves so slow. This would lead to people honking from behind, probably thinking 'There was plenty of space!! Why didn't you go!!' but they did not know that the car could not have actually made it and would have resulted in a car accident.

It's like we believe that all human beings are like super-amazing-perfect skilled beings that are always in perfect physical health, perfect hand-eye coordination, will never ever make a mistake or do something in error – and how ridiculous is this when we know people, we see them all the time, we ARE ONE ourself, and we KNOW that there is FAR from perfection going on here – we've got all kinds of maladies and afflictions that affect our functioning for example, we ALL make mistakes now and then. Bad eyesight from old age affecting one's ability to see. Not being able to afford to have a car in good condition. A new driver just learning and not having it down perfectly yet, I remember my first driving experiences were pretty intense. The list goes on. On top of it, we have created a world where there is little to no support to deal with these kind of problems so that everyone can be in the best health possible, the best car possible, the best driving training possible, not be so overworked that we are driving everywhere in a hurry most of the time, etc, etc. Our expectations are really not in line with the world we as we have accepted it to exist.

So now when you are in these moments where you find yourself getting annoyed and thinking 'what the heck??' realize there is a better way – you don't have to get stressed out in that moment – it doesn't do anything anyway, just wears you out – you can instead start to look at how can I understand this situation? And in this a whole universe opens up. It is such a relief to no longer have to get all worked up and bothered and stressed and potentially causing more consequence, but now I can actually keep my cool and expand myself in looking at what is going on and how I can help in a situation. This has led to some very interesting moments where I noticed details that I would not have if I'd just gone into that reaction and stayed there, and some moments where once I understood what was going on I was able to take action to help the situation along. I can say that this has been a very rewarding point to work on, and that is why I have shared this with you today, so that you might be able to benefit as well from these realizations, have less stress in your life, and create less stress for others as well.

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