I am not sure if anyone can really predict how they would react when something unexpected happens.
The other day a friend of mine driving her daughter to daycare was forced to direct her attention to the unexpected. Her car had been idling on an intersection waiting for the chance to turn a corner when a resounding thud to the rear of her car suddenly threw a wrench into her carefully planned day. A woman had run into her and now she would have to stop her day to deal with the accident.
My friend would have been justified to be upset. And in fact she was quite upset. It was the middle of winter in Mid West and she had to pull over and exchange insurance information in the wintry morning. She would have to figure out how to fix her car, call her insurance; all things she hadn’t planned to do that morning. She surprised me though when she told me that upon conclusion of exchanging information with the other woman, she noticed how shaken up the woman was. According to my friend, the woman started crying as she headed to her car. My friend called her back and gave her a hug.
Mystified I asked her why she did it. My friend said she didn’t feel it was necessary to abandon compassion just because she had been wronged. The look of devastation and the obvious impact of having to compensate someone for an accident was probably an event that would throw the other woman’s life out of sync. My friend said she just gave her a hug because she felt connected to the woman in her pain.
At any given moment, life can throw us an unexpected curve ball. How we prepare ourselves by our thinking patterns, thoughts, and actions will prepare us for the unexpected when it comes. A professor I Know talked about a theory called the Johari Window. I tried it out with my husband found out interesting things about myself, which is probably why I will put off trying it out with my friends. The Johari Window developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, is a journey of self exploration consisting of windows representing how you view yourself, how others view you and a mystery window containing things only contained in your subconscious. The mystery window contains adjectives hidden in the deep recesses of our minds. It is the unpredictable reactions to unexpected events. When something unexpected happens, or when we are faced with unexpected decisions we react from our subconscious. If you expose yourself to activities and reflections that help nature your thinking and thought patterns, you are likely to react positively when the unexpected happens. This was the case with my friend. An unexpected event happened (woman crying after running into her) and her subconscious reacted by setting aside all the obvious inconveniences caused by the accident by giving the stranger a hug.
I couldn’t help but wonder what my reaction would have been were I in the same situation as my friend. Faced with the unexpected, my reactions haven’t always been positive. I however would like to think that I have been growing as a person due to immersion in positive thinking, actions, literature, and company.
Which of course begs the question:
‘ Who are you when faced with the unexpected?’
- A good time to take a look in the window (customerthink.com)
- Counselling in Wokingham – Meeting Yourself (paulcockayne.com)
- Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Minar-Jaynes (elmoreleonard.wordpress.com)