This may be a different way to begin a post than I normally do, but I will admit that I am not the most patient driver. In fact, if I’m being honest, I will say that I am rather nasty. I have many pet peeves when I drive. I don’t drive very fast, but I get frustrated easily when people drive under the speed limit unnecessarily, or I get angry at those who don’t use their turn signals. Others annoy me because they are simply clueless on the roads.
Now, I am not painting a very positive picture of myself so I’m going to quit while I’m behind. It always surprises people when I share about how impatient and inconsiderate I am on the road. Most that know me well would tell you that I am one of the most mild-mannered, patient, kind, and sympathetic individuals on the planet. In fact, some even criticize how far I will go just to avoid a conflict. Perhaps it’s because I learned to drive while living on Long Island (one of the most difficult places to drive), but for whatever reason, driving is the only time I behave so poorly.
I share this with you because my negative driving habits came to light this past week. We added another (and last) daughter to our auto insurance policy. In order to keep costs down, we are offered discounts for enrolling in an online defensive driving course. I spent the day on the computer and actually enjoyed this excellent course. It was also a major wake-up call. I realized that my bad attitude and corresponding bad driving habits like illegal passes, balancing all kinds of foods with the steering wheel, and spending more time checking what’s on the radio than what’s in front of me were not only dangerous to me, but also to those around me. I realized I needed to change these negative habits. I decided that I was immediately going to become more courteous and more focused when I drove. In fact, I was going to take it a step further. Not only was I going to be courteous. I was going to be the most courteous driver on the road!
After being such a nasty driver for so long, and having enough experience to know how life works, I expected immediate tests to my patience. I was curious to see how long this new attitude would actually last. For the first few days, I held my end of the bargain (even though my end was the only end). However, as the days went on, there were no tests! No slow drivers or series of red lights to test my patience. Everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing. Traffic was flowing smoothly every time. Drivers were even being extra courteous to me! Even the weather cooperated. On the first day after the test, it snowed for most of the day… except for the times I drove that day!
I’ve written countless articles on this site about how the circumstances in our lives reflect the quality of focus on our thoughts. If we focus on positive thoughts, we generally experience positive outcomes. Of course, the same correlation is true for negative thoughts. I’ve seen many examples of this in my life. However, this experience has been a very powerful reminder. I realized that, even though it was on a subconscious level, every time I got into the car, I expected negative situations, that I ultimately encountered. Now, as my focus and attitude changed, I stopped encountering these negative circumstances. Driving was actually a joy. And this change occurred instantly!
I share this reminder with you, my cherished reader. Be conscious of your thoughts. Continually watch what you focus your thoughts on. If the circumstances in a particular situation are not as you would like them to be, I challenge you to change your focus. Instead of thinking about what’s wrong or what you don’t have, focus instead on what is already right and good, or at least what could be positive about it. I find this very encouraging because this strategy puts us in full control. We may not be able to control some or all of the circumstances around us, but we can all control our thoughts and attitudes which have the ultimate effect on how the circumstances turn out. Your results may not be as immediate as they were in my situation, but in most cases changes occur very quickly.
Once again I remind you that you will experience in life whatever you focus your thoughts on. If you constantly see the negative in people and things, that’s what you will continue to experience. If you see the good in people in things, you will only experience more of it. In addition, as they did with my new driving attitude, the negative situations will eventually diminish if you keep focused on the positive. Not everything is always going to go our way, and I’m not saying you’re wrong if you’re not happy every minute of the day. However, I have learned from many experiences (and now this recent one) that good things happen when you look for them. Enjoy the blessings 🙂
I am also an impatient driver at times; although over the past few years I have become more tolerant. I use a daily meditation period to calm myself; this has worked tremendously well. I have several medical issues, and I sometimes get very impatient with myself. It is times like these that I force myself to bring God more closely to my consciousness. Then, and only then, do I return to a state of calm.
Thank you for your excellent comment! The meditation, especially before driving, is an excellent idea. I should try that myself. I also love what you say about bringing God more closely to consciousness. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, and I am really seeing its benefits right now. I also find that the more I do it, the easier it becomes and the more of His impacts I experience along the way. Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to share. Have an awesome day 🙂
Being mindful, conscious and aware of our own habits of mind and thinking takes time and patience for us all. Everything in our life impacts our thoughts and belief system from a very young age into adulthood. We all develop, mature and come to be in our own time and place in life.
For me, the change really began when I had my “mid-life crisis” as many say. I lacked the love and appreciation for myself and my outlook and perspective on life was very pessimistic. I had a poor self-image, lacked confidence and wasn’t happy being me. With that, came all the negative thinking, only noticing all the things that went wrong, or may possibly go wrong. I didn’t know or see my worth.
During my transformation of self (biggest changes the last 3 years), I’ve come to know, understand and realize just how powerful our thoughts are. What we focus on, we get more of. Once I started noticing, being more grateful for the things I have, accepting and loving myself more, the biggest and most critical shift happened.
My journey has had its share of trials, storms and seasons, each one carrying valuable lessons. The biggest one has been emotions, forgiveness, letting go of the past. Once I learned to see myself for who God sees me as, I know my value, my worth, that I am important and how much I matter.
Given this gift, I have more self-control, increased mindfulness and practicing the pause before I speak. I am a work in progress. I still have days that challenge me. What I do know is I have come a long way, especially in becoming more mindful of my thoughts to enjoy, appreciate and live life more fully each day. We are continually learning and growing, becoming a better version of ourselves, whether the change is in small or big ways.
Wow, I can relate to so many things you just said here. My self-image has been like a see-saw through the years. When I have been at my best, I feel like I can conquer the world, and I make the positive impacts on people that I wish to make without even trying. Some of these times were in my teens, and some have been in recent years. I have also gone through plenty of periods where I have a poor self-image with little to no confidence, and feeling completely unworthy of God’s love. These times have also varied from my teen days up to some recent times, even as I have learned the great information that I often share here.
I too am (and will always be) a work in progress. My greatest victory lately is finally being more deliberate in applying everything God has taught me. Instead of knowing so much, I am encouraged that I am finally starting to be what God tells me I am. As mentioned, when I do that, I don’t even have to try to bring God’s light to others. It just happens. And when I see God working through this humble vessel, there is no greater joy that anything else can bring.
I believe the same is true for you, and I’m sure you are seeing that already. You are obviously an open and willing vessel that is allowing God to use you for great things. If you’re not already, you will experience those wonderful blessings as well.
Thanks again for being open and sharing the wonderful info. Have an amazing day 🙂
We all have many lessons to learn and become more like him throughout the journey. He has a purpose and a plan for us all. He brings people together for the common good so they may be heard and understood.
Like you, a humble vessel I am. He brings forth the greatest joy in us all. His peace and unconditional love are like no other. I have received His blessings in so many ways. For that I am very grateful, acknowledge Him and give thanks.
I’m grateful my openness to sharing has been helpful in your journey as well. Keep on doing what God has called upon you to do-shine your light brightly upon other people. You never know the impact your words will have (until you speak them)!!
Amen! You have definitely been a help to me, and I appreciate that. Funny too how God just told me this morning you never know who you can impact. He said ” leave it up to me ” and see what happens 🙂
A confirmation of His presence and how He is working through us🙏🏼
Thank you for sharing 😊
I experience, and thus fully expect, everything going my way. It’s wonderful relaxing into the now, appreciating all flowing into my life as I like it, expecting more of that, then seeing evidence of that happening. Jesus didn’t equivocate. I don’t either. Everything in my experience bends to my (blessed) thoughts. Heaven (in my life) is here, now, because my thoughts are mostly Positively Focused. 👍🏾
Thank you so much for the excellent comment. Everything you say here is spot on! Your attitude towards life is very admirable. I think that way, but my struggle is still applying it sometimes. However I am doing that more and more. That confidence of knowing that “everything bends to my thoughts ” indeed brings heaven on Earth 🙂