I live in a country where the rules of the road are never followed. Most people drive very aggressively, with no thought to others sharing the road with them. In order to survive even a trip to the grocery store, I have to drive just like everyone else. When I drive aggressively, I tend to get very angry.
I am not an angry person by nature. When I was younger, I was angry at everything, and I have learned over time that anger is a useless emotion. Anger causes stress, and I already have too many sources of stress in my life. Stress causes anxiety, and I am already too easily prone to anxiety.
The other day I was driving to the mega-mall for our weekly trip to McDonalds and to buy a few groceries and I was cut off by a reckless Jeepney driver. If this had been the only occurrence I would have ignored it, but I had been cut off two times earlier. Road rage had been building in me for some time, but this driver made it flare up uncontrolled. I blared my horn at the offending Jeepney, but the driver did not acknowledge me at all. I swerved in to the oncoming traffic lane and slammed the accelerator pedal to the floor. As a sped by the offender, I raised my middle finger in salute, even though the tint on my window is too dark for anyone to see me.
The anger was pulsing through my body, and even though the offending driver was far away in my rearview mirror, I continued my aggressive assault on the road. I was swerving through traffic and speeding past other innocent drivers. Then I looked over at my wife in the passenger seat and could see she was wide-eyed in fear. This broke through the veil of anger and I immediately slowed to the speed limit. I was more than a little ashamed at my behavior so I put my hand on her leg and gave her a little apologetic squeeze.
I love to drive but I hate when I am pushed to anger. After it has faded, I often remember this quote and promise to do better next time:
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha