Friday, April 15, 2011

Frustration and Understanding

How many times have you ever driven to work and have had to swerve to avoid hitting a seemingly suicidal bicyclist or pedestrian? It is okay to be honest, it has happened to us all. When it does happen it can be very scary and also very frustrating. It can be hard to understand why someone could appear so unaware that they would get in your way like that.

What you may not get right away is that to that bicyclist and pedestrian you are just as scary and frustrating. It is all too easy to forget that other people are acting and reacting to pretty much the exact same stimuli as ourselves. While from your perspective you couldn’t see how they didn’t see your car but you may be completely blocked by parked cars to the pedestrian.

So how do we avoid frustration when these situations are not only inevitable but nearly impossible to prevent? Perhaps the easiest way is to simply recognize that the other person saw the same thing but from a different point of view. No one but you can possibly have your exact perspective so we must give leeway to others. The most effective way to gain understanding with our fellow humans is to emulate them for a time. Try riding your bicycle to work or the grocery store once a week, or go for a long walk in the evenings. You will quickly see that motorists can be just as likely to display suicidal (and even homicidal in some cases) tendencies as the bicyclists and pedestrians that used to get on your nerves.

I use the example of transportation only because it is universal, but this applies to all areas of life. From time to time we find people that we consider to be annoying, but we must still strive to find a place of understanding with them. They are really no different than us, they are just living their life as they see best at that present moment. Chances are probably very high that they find you just as annoying and frustrating anyhow, so any sort of grace that you show can come back to you. Every time we overcome these frustrations and find peace with our fellow people we are making the world a better, more tolerant place to be in. Less frustration in your life means a happier, healthier and ultimately longer life.

See you on the road!

Grant Virtue


  1. So true! Walking and riding my bike has made me a much better driver!

  2. I find it best in those situations to take a deep breath and be mindful