Sometimes the fact that I specialize in helping people overcome fear can be a curse. The old "ignorance is bliss" doesn't apply. Having awareness means you tend to run headfirst into your own perfect imperfections.
It was recently a typical morning with the usual people trying to merge or change lanes going slower than the pace of traffic. The quintessential "defensive driver," who, because of their fear, is more often than naught the cause of the accident. Dammit, where is ignorance when you need it?
Let me explain. See while I might be right about defensive drivers, I also know about judgment. Whenever we judge someone, it is because, in some area of our life, we feel inadequate and imperfect. It is a piece of ourselves we don't want to acknowledge or heal. For example, on this day, I was trying to get to an appointment on time. For me, being late is a sign of disrespect, so it really triggers fear in me. But, instead of facing that fear, I became enraged that my view on how others should drive (you should accelerate past the trouble, not slow down, it can't hurt you if it is behind you) isn't the same as those I am writing about.
The potent mix of powerlessness and inadequacy coalesced into a rage that exploded as I heard myself hurling obscenities as another "defensive driver" nearly hit me.
Here is the positive side of what I do. When I start acting in extremes, especially anger, I know the issue is within me and NOT the other person.
Anger is always a smokescreen for fear. It is basically the fight portion of "fight, flight or freeze." Fear is where the truth lies, and it is what we hide and defend the most. Whenever fear is awakened, we are either feeling the fear of rejection or inadequacy; in other words, we don't believe we have the knowledge, skills, or tools to achieve something or the fear of powerlessness. In this case, since I can't get them to do what I want, I might be late. I feel powerless and inadequate to change it!
Instantly I started asking myself new questions. Why is this bugging me? Why am I letting these strangers have so much control over how I feel? What am I getting out of that? Why is such a small thing affecting me so intensely? That was the question that stuck.
Immediately I saw a picture of a bucket hanging by a rope. With each small instance of anger (fear), I was basically throwing a quarter in that bucket instead of dealing with it.
It's a bucket we all carry, one in which we throw tiny deposits of fear in, until one day, like Niagara Falls, it cascades down upon us.
The confrontation we avoid, CLINK!
The phone call we don't want to make, CLINK!
The chocolate we sneak that sabotages our diet, CLINK!
The drinks we have at night, CLINK!
The tv show we watch instead of talking with our kids. CLINK!
The feeling we try not to feel, CLINK!
The "I can break my morals and values this one-time" CLINK!
Like forgetting something on a grocery list. Big deal, we say, "I'll get it next time."
CLINK, another quarter in the bucket!
The next thing you know, we're screaming and yelling at the traffic, our spouse, our kids…..We know we shouldn't be shouting, we know that we shouldn't be so upset, but we can't help ourselves.
WE HAVE TO SCREAM; WE HAVE TO YELL; WE HAVE TO GET IT OUT. WHY CAN" T I STOP MYSELF,"
we think. The more we yell, the angrier we get at ourselves! None of this makes sense.
"WHY AM I SO UPSET, THIS IS INSANE!" This is too big of a price to pay for such a small thing.
WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?
The accumulation of all of those "Clinks" has snapped the rope. The bucket now hurtling down upon me. I am in a shower with 40 different heads in the walls, floor, and ceiling. Everywhere I turn, I come face to face with all of that fear. Like trying to take a sip from a firehose, I am blown wide open. Each droplet became a symbol of my anger and frustration for ignoring the fear I didn't want to face. I may be screaming at them, but in reality, I am yelling at myself.
When the torrent ceases, I slump gutted and exhausted—my insides floating down the drain.
Who knows now when it started? When did I first say,
"I'll get it next time!" CLINK!
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