Blog · September 22, 2011

So over the top it overflows.

There are many versions of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, but the main story remains the same. A hideous beast and a beautiful girl fall in love, and when they do it turns out the beast wasn’t a beast at all, but a handsome prince. We learn that the reason the prince was turned into a beast and every single one of the prince’s servants turned into  inanimate objects was because an enchantress, disguised as an old woman, came to his castle seeking shelter on a stormy night. When the prince refused to give her shelter, she revealed her true self and cursed the man for his shallowness by transforming him into a beast. Only true love could turn the prince back to normal.

I find it interesting how a simple refusal to give a stranger shelter would result in such a horrible punishment, but I find that in our society today over-reacting on things seems pretty much the norm. People use the word ‘hate’ quite freely and frequently, from cursing like there is no tomorrow over minor Facebook tweaks, to using hatred and lies to their advange wether it’s in politics or personal lives. Have you noticed that people instead of talking about who they like on everything from personal friends to reality shows and soaps, just make the point and concentrate and talk endlessly about who they HATE?

A few weeks ago I was driving through heavy traffic and big intersections in Hollywood and I came across a sign I never saw before that stated ‘Stop when flashing’. It was flashing, so… I stopped. I stopped for just a couple of seconds, just enough to make sure the coast was clear and as I was just about to push the gas pedal the truck behind me, who apparently did not see the sign (or so I surmised at the moment) started tooting at me as if I was doing something wrong. Hmmm. OK. He did not stop at all, so either he could not read or was impatient. Just a few yards later I had to stop again at a red light at a big and heavy intersection. I was turning right, so I could turn on red, but once again I wanted to make sure the coast was absolutely clear and took an extra second to look around. I must have lingered on a second too long because that same guy started tooting at me again! Yes, I am going, I am going. As I turned he decided to speed up out of control, get in front of me, tooting again and made sure I and my children and the entire world saw his middle finger by sticking it and his complete arm out of the driver’s window for at least 30 seconds, just to be stopped at another light a few seconds later. Overreacting just a TAD you think? All of that just to get a couple of feet farther? In need of anger management perhaps?
Just yesterday in fact, as I was taking my husband to the Doctor we were all stuck behind a truck (about 20 or so cars) when, despite a curve and a double-yellow lane this guy in a blue Honda decided he was going to pass all these cars and the truck anyway and came THIS CLOSE in hitting me because he did not see the car coming from the other direction and I had to move almost off the road so he could pull back into my lane and avoid collision. All of that, and then I somehow ended up in front of him later on.

Hate. Overreacting. Road Rage. Hurry up and wait. Seriously? Where is our society going?

A very inspiring quote comes to mind which goes like this: “Don’t confuse mere inconveniences with real problems”. It’s a quote that I found shortly after I was treated quite horribly by someone that I thought was my friend, which confused an inconvenience of hers with my real problems. I remember this incident as if it was yesterday and it will forever serves me as an example of how not to overreact on things and how NOT to treat people going through a horrendous ordeal. We should never kick people when they are down, ever, never, ever.

It hadn’t yet been a month since my first baby was stillborn at full term when this ‘friend’, who had been pregnant along with me and had just delivered a perfectly healthy little girl, made sure to let me know how finding out about my child’s death made her last week of pregnancy ‘pure hell’ (her words) and that I, yes, *I* had been “cruel, insensitive and uncompassionate’ to spread the news. Yes, I sent invites to the funeral, how thoughtless of me. Yes, I deserved not compassion from her whatsover, the fact that my son was 6 feet under could not compare to her ‘week of agony’ (her words) which preceded the birth of her healthy little girl. I saved that letter because ’til this day I cannot believe someone would call me “cruel, insensitive and uncompassionate” after I had to bury my son. I was so hurt… I cannot even describe it. She didn’t just kick me while I was down, she threw me down the ditch and made sure to kick me until I was bleeding.
Of course my immediate reaction was to write her a few choice words, but my BIL, who read the letter, gave me the best advice I probably ever got. He said that I should just write back and apologize, because we could only feel sorry for people like her. He said that she was in a place of such selfishness and egocentrism that she was incapable of  empathizing and putting herself in other peoples’ shoes. He said she was completely self-absorbed and overly concerned about herself to the point of ignoring the feelings of others. So, I followed his advice. I wrote her back and apologized, even excusing my behaviour of being so devastated over my son’s death I didn’t take into consideration her feelings and how sorry I was to hurt her. She never wrote back and never apologized in return. With friends like her, who needs enemies?

Moral of the story? Be positive!
Think Love before you think Hate.
Be kind. Don’t be in such a hurry!
Think before you say something negative or hurtful.
Look for the good in every situation
Look for that silver lining no matter how bleak the situation seems.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.

You will be happier, I promise!