So there I was driving along, heading to teach my beach yoga class, as I come upon an intersection with a Chevy Camaro SS in front of me. I didn't think too much of it, as I pulled up to a red light behind him. As the light turns green, and with no one in front of him, he starts to go, yet then sticks the "pedal to the metal", revs his engine up, and then peeled off in front of me. I just shook my head thinking, "Yeah you're cool...NOT! It's just another crazy teenager on his way to school." So, shortly after, and as I come upon some traffic, I pull into the right lane and see that same car up ahead. I eventually catch up to and try to pass him. I decided to check out this “teenager”, only to see the driver of the car…. has GREY HAIR! My "teenager” was, in actuality, a 60(+) year old man! I just smiled to myself, as I shook my head again thinking, "either he slipped that clutch, or... they just never really grow up, do they?”
Last year, I was traveling along a side road, when I came upon a guy on a motorcycle in front of me. He was dressed as any typical “Harley dude”, wearing a leather jacket with his motorcycle club name on the back, black leather boots, riding gloves, and wallet chain. And, of course, you can’t miss the long grey hair tied in the back, that matched the long “ZZ Top” looking beard down the front. All seemed pretty typical, yet, as I pulled up closer, I realized that it was he who was blasting “Turn the Beat Around” by Gloria Estefan on his stereo. I smiled to myself, as I pulled up alongside him at the light. As I love a good Gloria tune, I looked over at him and smiled. He looked back, nodded, and as the light turned green, he took off blaring her voice down the street with that long grey beard in tow. I smiled to myself, realizing this guy has no idea that he TOTALLY made my day!
We seem to get programmed to assume certain things about certain individuals, and it becomes almost comical when we realize how wrong we were all along. Just as I assumed that the only type of person that would ever peel out at a light would be a teenager, I also assumed that I should have been hearing something like Ozzy or The Grateful Dead coming from the stereo from the Harley motorcyclist. We all, at some point, allow ourselves to assume. I used these fun little examples to show what I mean, but the issue of assumptions is far worse out there in the world.
Today, we can see how assumptions can bring out the worst in us as humans. Assumptions can coincide with racism, and assume that people “are a certain way” based on their nationality or color of skin. Being Italian, people may assume many things about me that probably aren’t true. (But, if you assume, since I'm Italian, that I'm a good cook..well.. I'll have to give you that one!) Letting those assumptions fly unwarranted can cause, not only stress in the relationships of the people around you, but unwanted stress and anxiety within YOU. Why bring about high tension and anxiety over people and things that we may not know much about, or worse, understand. It just doesn’t make sense!
So is it worth it?? Is it worth wasting our energy to this extent? I say absolutely NOT! Keep in mind that we don’t have any control over anyone else’s actions. The only thing we have control over is how we react. Just as we assume that person that just cut us off on the road is a total jerk, we need to breathe and take a moment to look at both sides of any situation. The person may have just cut you off because he or she is trying to get to the hospital in a hurry. We don’t know what is going on inside another person, and we have no control over them either, although, YOU have a choice. You can get angry at that person, tense up and increase the anxiety within your own body, OR, you can let it go, relax your body and take care of yourself. Just because someone crossed your path, doesn't mean you need to give them any of your energy. I had always loved a good road rage in my day, but after realizing how much stress it would put on me, I started to choose that higher road of clarity.
Give people a chance. None of us are perfect. Give yourself the chance to break thru assumptions, and find that new higher road to your own clarity. We all want change to occur, and it starts with us…all of us.
Let it start with you.
Love and peace.. XO
Michelle has a BS, E-RYT, YACEP, CHN, CLYL, and Y12SRL.