"Laughter gives distance. We can step back from an event, deal with it, and move on." -Bob Newhart

Have you ever had a driver in another car almost crash into you and your vehicle? Or, had a moment that you couldn’t prepare for, which created an immediate reaction of some kind? I’d venture to say it’s happened to all of us at some point.

So, what’s your response? There are all kinds of scenarios. What happens inside of us usually has some kind of residual connection to something that has happened in the past yet is part of the reaction we have in the present moment.

There are those times when it seems so many unpleasant things happen to us in a short time. If we’re not careful to process things as they come, we can be set off—in a bigger way—by a smaller thing, because of the multiple occurrences happening back-to-back. The other day, I found myself exactly in that situation.

A driving incident became my trigger. I had the right of way, but someone almost ran into me. I immediately felt the fear of it, but what surprised me was the level of anger I felt towards the other driver. You “#*•*#!!” I hollered out in my car. To keep this Rated G, let’s just say that I yelled “jerk.” As soon as it came out of my mouth, I realized this was about more than the incident that just happened. I took a moment to consider all the other things that had been building up that I really hadn’t worked through yet.

I still had a good amount of adrenaline running through me though I was aware of my OVERreaction. So, I reflected with my Higher Power on what might have been a better reaction than to have called the driver a “jerk”. The next thought I had was to send the driver a blessing. To that I said, “Well then could I say—Bless you, you ‘jerk!!’?” Then I busted up—laughing aloud and quipped with Higher Power that I was pretty funny.

It’s been recovery work that’s allowed me to learn to laugh at myself and give myself space to be fully human. It was important that I gave the driver some compassion because who knows what they might have been going through. It was also important I gave myself compassion. The laughter allowed me a non-judgmental way to feel my feelings and acknowledge my reaction, while looking at the whole situation in a compassionate way. It also broke up the stress I had been feeling and was a fun way to shift my energy. If you haven’t laughed at yourself in a while—give it a go and see what happens.

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.