making excuses

“Our job is to love people. When it hurts. When it’s awkward. When it’s uncool and embarrassing. Our job is to stand together, to carry the burdens of one another and to meet each other in our questions.”

—   Jamie Tworkowski (founder of To Write Love On Her Arms)

If there is one thing I have learned in the beginning of my 20s, it is the importance of being kind to people.  I am not always successful at this.  There are days where I am mentally throwing cuss words at the slow person in line in front of me at the bank.  There are times where I am annoyed at the woman whose children have totally taken over the aisle I need to get down at the grocery store.  But, there are a lot less times than there used to be, and it has made me undeniably happier than being mean did.  

Hating other people for wronging you, no matter how big or small the deed, will never make you happier.  Similarly, being defensive and mean rather than kind and open will never make your life better.  Giving someone you pass a big smile isn't always a guarantee they'll return it, but it really doesn't hurt you to smile regardless.  Sometimes it's difficult to get over these habits, but a friend gave me a great tip that really helps with strangers.  

Let's say, for example, someone cuts you off in traffic.  You could scream and honk.  It would likely freak them out a bit and stress you both out even more.  Those probably weren't your goals when you honked, you more than likely thought it would make you feel better to "get back at them."  It won't.  

Alternatively, you could make up an excuse for their behavior.  Maybe it's a father-to-be speeding to meet his pregnant wife at the hospital.  Perhaps it's a mother whose teenager just called to say they got in a fender bender, and she wants to get to her scared kid.  Maybe it's a waitress late for her 4 o clock shift, and she really needs that job.  

Maybe it's none of those things and that person just doesn't drive very well or is kind of a jerk.  

The good news is, if you make an excuse for them, you get to be the person who helped them get on their way rather than the angry driver who laid on the horn.  

The more you practice it, in traffic and everywhere else, the sooner you'll realize there's hardly anything to be upset about at all.  

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