I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about “ego”, its effect upon us, and how it influences the way we interact with one another. Ego, as that part of self that sees us as being separate from everyone and everything else, often manifests itself as the need to be “right”, in charge or control of a situation, or defend our pride against a perceived offense. While the ego may have developed as a primitive way to ensure one’s survival, it’s quite clear that a great many of mankind’s difficulties and conflicts have been sparked or enflamed by the egos of the individuals involved!
Interestingly enough, I had an opportunity to see a perfect demonstration of this played out in front of me recently. In this situation, a confrontation erupted between two people when their paths inadvertently crossed at my workplace. One found himself in the way of the other and both, in their rush to get things done, were apparently less than respectful to one another. One took offense at the other’s brusqueness and, when a similar encounter between the two occurred several minutes later, tempers flared. When the two approached one another rudely and exchanged angry words, the entire scene reminded me of two angry wolves, circling one another and snarling over territory, simply because one wished to pass by the other in the forest!
While the two did manage to calm down, discuss the issue, and resolve things in a mutually acceptable manner, I somehow felt that the entire situation could have been avoided if either one had simply chosen to “take The High Road”.
- Are we so sensitive that we demand respect before we offer it to others?
- Once we’ve given respect, do we become angry if we don’t immediately receive it in return?
- Are we in so much of a hurry that we no longer care about the needs of our fellow human beings?
- Have we become so stressed by our own lives that we feel the need to push our stress onto others?
If we find ourselves saying “yes” to any of these questions, I think it may be time to lighten up just a bit!
As I make my way through the many challenges of life, I’m finding that it’s much easier to let others’ indiscretions pass than it is to “throw fuel on the fire”, so to speak. There may be a thousand reasons why people behave the way they do and, in all likelihood, they don’t have anything to with me. It doesn’t serve me, them, or anyone else well to react angrily to their confrontation. I’m also finding that, by not taking things personally, I’m able to remain calm and react in a more detached, rational manner.
I’m thinking that all of us might benefit from practicing a bit more tolerance and understanding in our lives. The brief moment it takes to take a deep breath and mentally step back from a tense situation might be all it takes to ensure that our reaction doesn’t become an over-reaction. Just imagine how our world might change if everyone were to try that. And if that doesn’t work, I suppose we could always wrap some bright yellow “CAUTION” tape around us when we’re in an unfriendly mood and just want to be left alone.
Hmmmm. Now that’s a fashion statement for these turbulent times!
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