One friend (you know who you are) sometimes has to get out her “Momma Zen.” This is when her kiddo does something so… kiddo-ish, that she might be in shocked horror while embracing the kid-factor of his being, that she calls out for her Momma Zen to calm her, remind her that he’s only a small fry once, and this really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things because he is a good kid.
I have a few mantras I find myself using. Deep breaths when I am faced with something so ridiculous (this is usually when my husband says something so off the wall I don’t know how to respond). So, I take a deep breath. Usually the thing figures itself out, or I am given a moment of reprieve. The other day, for example, he asked, “Do you mind if we eat in front of the TV tonight for dinner?” I snapped, “I don’t care!” We’re learning how to communicate with each other so he replied, “Now, wait, what do you mean.” Seriously, a year ago, 2 years ago, we would have huffed to each other, and not said anything. This is great marital progress. So, I said, “Yes, I do mind if, and I would rather we sit at the table and eat but, I’m tired, and I’m not going to fight about it, so I don’t care.” We ate at the table, as we usually do. That’s quality time.
Sometimes, I try to remind myself that the guy in front of me isn’t really trying to cut me off, but he might be late too. I use deep breaths here. Sometimes I’m unsuccessful and a few mutterings spew out. I hope they are quiet enough Levi can’t hear.
Sometimes, I don’t understand what is motivating someone to the point I’m dumb struck. Why can’t they see it the way I do?! (Because they aren’t me!) So, I tell myself, “Patience.”
Sometimes, it feels as if the whole world is bubbling over and colliding. It doesn’t matter what you say, the folks you are around keep taking what you say and leaping off weird cliffs and distorting your words. Here, I repeat, “Grace under pressure, grace under pressure.”
I’d like to think it works. My logical brain tells me people are just being people, and we’re usually too selfish and self-centered to intentionally cause harm to another. That is, I’m hedging my bets on selfishness that few if anyone is out to get me – especially the random driver who just cut me off! He might be a jerk, he might be trying to get home.
My mantras come from my mother. Not the specific phrases that go through my mind, rather the concept. She would often say while we were growing up to reserve judgment until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes. I probably had to play that out in my mind a half million times before I could conceive of understanding.
Let’s take the guy who just cut you off. Sure, you’d like to track it to pattern because you’ve noticed a dozen or so drivers being squirrelly the same day. But, let’s think about this for a moment. This guy, imagine, just got a call, his wife’s in labor. It’s been a difficult pregnancy, and they had a c-section scheduled in two weeks. He got a call that his wife’s water broke, and they are rushing her to the maternal-ER to make sure everything is okay. I bet he’d be in a hurry. I hope he’d be in a hurry.
Walk a mile in someone’s shoes doesn’t mean imagine the worst – it just means, take yourself out of yourself for a moment. Remember there is a bigger, wider world out there, that doesn’t revolve around you. Remember that life goes on in a myriad of ways, and sometimes a little patience and kindness is all that’s required. So, deep breath, remember patience and grace under pressure.