Some events change us forever. For me it was a car accident. In 2000 I was stopped in traffic and got slammed into by an 18 wheeler. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember looking into my rear view mirror thinking,”Oh shit, I’m going to die!” I remember I couldn’t open my door. I could hear a hissing sound. I had just filled my tank. I thought the car was going to blow up. The back window of my SUV was touching my seat. I cried as I thought, “What if the dogs were in the car.”
The accident could of been a lot worse. I was left with some physical injuries. The emotional damage was much worse and longer lasting. I don’t think about it as much as I used to. However, it still effects me. If a Mack truck gets to close, I sweat. I believe driving in bad weather increases my likelihood of an early death. If my car slides, my legs shake for hours. Irrational, yet real thoughts.
I realize I have hang ups around driving. I am proud of how far I’ve come. There was a time, I never wanted to get into a vehicle again. I also realize there is room for continued improvement. My progress occurs at my pace.
That car accident is on my personal list of horrible events. I don’t like being a scary cat in the car. I don’t like having a back that isn’t up to par. I don’t like having to put so much thought into how weather impacts my driving, my day and my emotional state.
There were some good things that came out of my bad experience. I have more compassion for other people’s fears, even when they don’t make sense to me. I know how powerful understanding words and attitudes are. I also know how hurtful a “get over it” vibe is.
When we find ourselves judging other people’s hang ups, stop and have a moment of self reflection. Do you have an issue, struggle or weakness, that you wish people would respond more empathetically to? Let that be your guide when tempted to say or think, “Get over it.”