I’ve traveled about 1200 miles over the past two days (well, Saturday and Sunday because I’ll be driving when this post goes live!) As I started out my second day of the journey, my cat Kota – pictured above – was not listening and I had to shut him in his carrier because he kept trying to climb at my feet.
As I had backed out of one parking spot and had to pull into another because he climbed down again, I was SO angry. I shut him in the carrier and texted my mom, “Okay. So I’m ANGRY with Kota. He decided that today was the day to keep climbing under my feet. So he’s in time out and I’m FINALLY getting started. 😡”
I drove for another 45 or so minutes before stopping for gas. When I did, I saw a message back from my mom that was so profound and I think we all need to think about.
“It’ll be ok. Have patience. It’s confusing for him, and he can’t rationalize like we can.”
I read that message. And then I read it again. I felt terrible for how angry I had been. Kota wasn’t focusing his attention on the fact that I was angry. Nah, he curled up in his carrier and just rode along.
I let him back out of his carrier and he immediately ran for the pedals. Rather than getting angry at him, I let him sniff around for about ten minutes and then he got over his curiosity and went back to the back where he created a new spot for himself – he wiggled his way in between the door and the pillow I had in the back seat – and that’s where he remained for most of the drive!
This is a cat I’m talking about. But what if we followed my mom’s advice for the people in our lives? People don’t react to things the same way we do. They don’t process the same way either. What you may understand immediately may take your friends and family members (no matter their age!) hours… days… weeks… to fully process.
When we’re dealing with more difficult things than just an idea – say the loss of a loved one, moving, divorce, etc. – everyone has the own different process they use to cope with life’s trials.
What if, instead of getting angry and/or frustrated… what if we took a moment to pause and put ourselves in their shoes? What if we had patience and realized that our thoughts aren’t everyone else’s?
So the next time you find yourself getting irritated, take my mom’s advice: have patience; realize they may not fully understand everything that’s going on and may need time to process.
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