It is instructive for us to examine a common encounter with out-of-control emotions. The average commute time for the American worker ranges from 30 to 55 minutes depending on which survey is examined. While the American Psychological Association has released some interesting facts regarding road rage, our focus is on self-control. It is very likely that each of us will encounter an opportunity to lose control of our own self at least one time per day while commuting. Why do we allow this? In essence we hand over control of our own mind to another individual. God has endowed us with the ability to maintain self control at all times. Unlike any other creature we reserve the exclusive rights to imagine future events, to exercise independent will, and to reflect with a conscience. Harnessing these faculties we obtain the ability to reason. Putting these out of practice, however, morphs us into unreasonable animals.
Let us now then take the time to imagine the most recent event in which someone on the road pulled out in front of us and cut us off. How did we respond? Were we in control of our own mind throughout the encounter? Why are we so quick to anger, condemn, and demean? Did we allow the other person to control our emotions? Did they 'cause' us to get upset with them? Perhaps the event was so traumatic that we have allowed it to control us for an entire day? We told all of our coworkers about the 'idiot'. Even further did this event haunt our family as well? Did we talk about the horrific close call around the dinner table, reliving the wicked emotions in front of all? How might this heavy hand of burden impact the environment in which we raise our family?
We can control our own mind and our own emotions. Anger, wrath, and strife are not predictable outcomes. We are not programmable like robots. We are men and women of reason. Unique individuals endowed by our creator to think independently. Are we aware of the circumstances facing all of those we encounter each day? What is the current health or family status of the driver who sparked our anger? We do not know their circumstances. We do not know their lot in life, their mental state, or their emotional status. We do not know what life is dealing them at the moment. We do know, however, how it feels when life bombards us with unpleasant conditions. We have been there. Instead of jumping to anger we should project our mind to empathy. We instead pray hope that they will grasp control of the poor driving habit or accidental mistake. We pray that they will never bring harm to themselves or others upon the open road. We absorb their stress. We are not controlled by their actions. Our conscience wins us over. We are independent, free-thinking men and women.
Copyright © Robert Clinton Chedester 2012