Stressful situations

How are you reacting in stressful situations?

Before you think that you are calm in most stressful situations, let me tell you a story...

You have a morning routine which includes to write a journal about what has happened and reading a saying in the morning to start your day calm and relaxed. This morning it tells you that it will be a special day...

As you are not a wealthy person and your family is not wealthy you are getting to work with an old and shabby car which for you is fine because it brings you from one place to the next. This morning your are on your way to work and because you will have an important presentation your thought are wondering around and you are not too focused on the road you are driving on. And then it happens...

In front of you drives a beautiful, large and very modern expensive car. The traffic lights in front of that car is turning to yellow and you expect that car to pass the lights but the driver decides to stop and because you are not expecting him to stop you need a second to realise what is going on and are not able to stop quickly enough. Bang! and you have hit this very expensive modern car.

You are paralysed and shocked of what happened and your thoughts are spinning. You realise that you will not be able to pay for the damage and are panicking. You feel dejected and helpless. While you are panicking the driver of the expensive car comes over to you and asks in a very friend tone: "Are you alright?"

You roll down your window and answer: "Thank you, I am fine. I was expecting you to pass the lights and not to stop." The driver of the other car nods and does not seem to be upset. The driver of the other car goes on and says that he is happy that you are okay and that it is nice to get to know you. He wished that the circumstances would be different.

You might think: 'What an idiot. I have just banged into your car and you are talking of a coincidence? If that would have been a coincidence would have known that you are going to stop at the yellow light and not expected you to pass it.' You might even be wondering if this person is mentally ill. And even more confusing this driver does not seem to be angry with you. 'What on earth is going on here?' it might going on pondering in your mind.

Slowly you are getting out of the car and the driver of the other car is offering his hand to assist you. In your mind you think: 'It is getting more and more weird. After you have exited your car, the driver introduces himself and asks: " Hi, I am Peter. Shall we have a look at the damage together?" You stubble: "I am Petra. Yes, of course. I am on my way to work and should be there already."

While you are realising what has happened you understand that the driver came directly to you and did not even bother about the damage you have caused. He was only interested whether you are okay. Further you think that you would be angry towards the driver that hit your car, but instead Peter stay totally calm. And you would have liked to know immediately what damage the other driver has caused. Now you start to admire Peter for his calm and relaxed behaviour.

They start to inspect Petra's car and it does not look good for her car, because the rear seat of her car is not in place anymore and backrest is not straight anymore. In conclusion, that car is a total loss. You are starting to feel really low, because you have saved for this car for a long time and know you will not be having a car for some time now...

The situations was very different for Peter whose valuable car just had a few scratches and some small dents. The bumper was denied but the rest of the car was in good shape.

Peter called the police and Petra's car was towed away because the car was not roadworthy anymore. When you see your car being towed away you really start feeling the pain in your chest and all your muscles are tight. You think how hard you worked for this car, which extra shifts you took to be able to afford this car.

At some point the two of you are standing there and you notice how Peter is watching you. You start again to explain and excuse yourself for having caused this accident and that you are not able to undo what has happened. But Peter stays calm again, looks at you friendly and asks: "How is it that such a situation like this is throwing you completely off course?" You start to justify yourself again and what kind of burden you took to be able to afford this car.

Peter tells you that how we treat our things tells us a lot of how we love others. You are even more confused but you are impressed of the calmness that Peter expresses. What ever level of aggression you show Peter stays calm and resilient.

While you are still angry Peter asks you whether he might drive you to you workplace, because you mentioned at the beginning that you would need to be there some time ago, but the procedure of towing the car, the paperwork with the police, etc. took some time.

How would you react?

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