I don’t know if it’s fair to say that I “suffer” from road rage but I do resent the way a lot of people drive. My children don’t like that I’m always cussing people out and I realize I’m not being a great role model of ‘live and let live.’ How can I get a handle on this seething resentment that seems to come out at strangers?
As much as you don’t want to feel resentful and angry, you need to see it as a clue. Underlying every resentment is a disguised regret. So resentment provides an opportunity to heal.
Here’s one brief example of how I worked with my own road rage: I was cutting it close getting to an appointment and, sure enough, a driver pulled out in front of me and then drove ever so slowly. I found myself seething with resentment as each tenth of a mile passed. Although I didn’t scream or honk, I thought, “You idiot. You’re making me late. If it weren’t for you, I would have gotten there on time.”
While this may be true, I was certainly not creating inner or outer peace as steam was coming out of my ears. So I forced myself to go deeper to examine what my regret might be. To my surprise, my regrets began to unfold in layers from superficial to visceral. They were:
I regret making someone else late because of me.
I regret cutting things so close and feeling stressed.
I regret acting as though I’m not important enough to leave enough time for things in my life.
I regret believing I’m not important enough.
That last one struck me hardest—in my heart and gut. I was sad about it but relieved too. It was a relief to know that I could go from cursing at a stranger on the road to learning that I still need practice valuing myself more.
Healing from resentment is always the same: Look for the deepest, truest regret, which will likely contain an old self-judgment. Forgive yourself for how you have treated yourself and/or others as a result of holding this self-judgment. Then give yourself compassion.
Causes Jane Straus Supports
International Rescue Committee
The Southern Poverty Law Center
The Nature Conservancy