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It is so important to care for yourself

Thu, 14 Mar 2013
(From my article in the Mosman Villager Magazine - April 2013)

I am sitting in my car, queuing in a side street waiting to enter a main road. I hear voices and see a man standing beside another car, screaming at the driver who has the driver’s side window up. As he screams, his body shakes with rage. A woman, perhaps his girlfriend, is pleading with him to get back in his own car. Finally the man hits his fist against the car’s wing mirror and it goes flying across the street. He walks unsteadily back to his own car where the woman waits for him.

Road rage - the righteous anger that is looking for a fight. “I am in the right, and I will show you that I am. How dare you…” A definition of insanity is “a state of mind which prevents normal perception, behaviour, or social interaction.” Road rage is like this. What pushes us to insanity when someone changes lanes too quickly or causes us to break more sharply than we would like? I wondered whether in the case of this man it was a whole series of situations over many years where he hasn’t known how best to care for himself and his emotions, nor how best to care for others. Perhaps he has pushed himself for years to succeed without rest. Perhaps he learnt from someone a ‘real man’ settles matters with a fight. Perhaps as a child he saw his father yelling at his mother. There are going to be a whole series of causes and conditions that have brought this to be.

It is so important to nurture ourselves and to take responsibility for looking after our emotions. One moment of rage can potentially bring so much destruction. Nurturing ourselves is something we can begin immediately. It might be getting home a bit earlier than usual so we have time to play with our kids. It might be taking time to prepare a healthy delicious meal. It might be going for a swim. It might be taking time to talk with the people we love. Begin it now rather than waiting till we damage ourselves or others.