I really, REALLY struggle to deal with things I see around me which are wrong. This is especially a problem for me when I’m in traffic. Being on a bicycle, realising how severe the consequences can be for me if a driver’s actions cause me to crash, I can get very worked up. This leads, sometimes, to me completely losing my nut and scfreaming or gesturing at people. And this in turn leads to me beating myself up about acting like that for days, weeks sometimes.
This week, I remembered a piece of advice from Fred Luskin’s Forgiveness methods: you cannot enforce your rules on others. Even if your rule is to obey rules we as society have decided we need in order to function for the maximum good for us as a group, such as stopping at a traffic light when it is red, you cannot enforce your rule of abiding by rules.
And I started repeating the mantra: “Nothing to do with me.” Cars parked in a space reserved for bicycles to be able to enter the cycle lane and, you know, GET OUT OF THE WAY OF CARS? Nothing to do with me. What has got something to do with me is figuring out how to get past them, so really that’s all I should focus on. Why they’re there is none of my business. It is especially not something I can influence or change, so no amount of anger or frustration on my side is going to be helpful.
Instead, I can raise the issue of lack of enforcement with someone who can do something about it. I can raise the issue when a politician comes to look for my vote. I can help with whatever efforts are being made to increase cycling numbers in my town – the more of us there are, the more provision and consideration becomes important.
But shouting and swearing? Pointless. At best, counterproductive, creating a negative image of cyclists in general, and of me in particular.
That’s everything to do with me.