the masks we wear

TL;DR version: It’s not easy to lead a life of love. 

So many things can cause distress and interrupt your natural flow. Someone says something hurtful without thinking, so you get offended. Someone abruptly cuts you off on the road, and your initial fear for your own safety transforms into anger. You react (or you don't). 

I've experienced and witnessed road rage. The few times that I've been triggered, I've looked over at the other driver thinking that if I mean mug them hard enough they could sense how dumb I think they are. But every time I do this, I look over and I just see another human being. Sometimes they're a realllyyy old person (sorry grandma!), who reminds me of the elderly people in my own life. This other person is just like me, who is also capable of making inconsiderate choices while driving on the road (and in that I'm a reallly old person!). I'd be a hypocrite to claim that I was any better.

Realizing my own destructive intentions, I feel even worst. Plus, now I need to recover from a mix of emotions. It has taken me three times as much energy to react than it would have if I had just responded more effectively (i.e. slowed down or switch lanes to avoid them altogether). Don't get me wrong, there are some people who shouldn't be driving a vehicle AT ALL. Whether they aren't confident drivers or aren't experienced, maybe they just gotta do what they gotta do to get to where they need to be be. 

Sometimes the drivers you encounter in your everyday life aren't operating actual vehicles, but their own selves. It's not easy to navigate life to begin with. Some are properly equipped through their upbringing, able to confidently make positive choices in life. Others may not have been so fortunate, feel uncomfortable behind the "wheel," or, at times, inflict harm onto others. It is a choice whether or not you respond to this person with love or hate. Not everyone is raised the same, but do we punish or judge another person's struggle in making these choices? It's not easy to be "good" or to figure out your own path. Sometimes we decide to take short cuts, only to discover that we've actually cut ourselves short. Should we punish each other even more for making mistakes? Isn't the person suffering enough with consequences caused by their own undoing? 

There is destruction on so many levels occurring in the world today, but I believe we are capable of creating more love despite this. In learning how to read myself, I've come to understand that the easier it is for me to reach anger, the less love there is reflected in my actions. Being consumed with anger leaves no room for love. When you belittle another person, what are you essentially spreading? Love or hate? Sometimes all it takes is for you to understand that lost or scared souls can be found anywhere, even while wearing the ugliest of masks. If you objectively, and critically, think about it, the way you choose to treat others isn't a reflection of them but of your own character and the type of energy you carry and choose to spread. So what is your goal here, to allow others to cope with life on their own terms, or enforce your method(s) onto them? Aren't we all entitled to free will? 

It's not easy to lead a life of love when it's so much easier to spread hate. Isn't it a miracle, then, that love exists at all? Sometimes we get so caught up in our own emotions that we lose sight of how we affect others, because in these moments our emotions are our only truths. What we feel trumps the importance of what others feel because we can become blinded by our own self-inflicting pain. Would love blind you in such a way? Or would love strengthen your patience and empathy? The next time someone has the power to upset you, try to observe what filter you are peering through. Feel what you feel, but your response can still be a choice. In my opinion, it's smarter to pity the fool than to let them elicit any reaction from me. If they want to be a fool, I let them be. They will prove to the world over and over again of what they are, but it's none of my business to poke my energy into another person's life choices. Sometimes all you can really do is send love and hope they are receptive.