Learning to Let Go

I was driving to work this morning when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a luxury SUV attempting to overtake my car in a dangerous manner. I slowed down slightly to allow the person to move into the space in front of me. A man was driving with the windows down, holding a cigarette in his right hand while steering with his left hand. The plate number was of the single-digit variety, complete with a crest that I couldn’t really make out but which I presumed would indicate that he is a Dato’/Dato’ Sri/Tan Sri. The only thing surprising to me was that he wasn’t watching a video on his mobile phone while driving!

The younger me would’ve been quick to anger in situations like these. Even now I still find it difficult to accept why some people behave they way they do. Why is it that most people can follow traffic rules, but these ‘distinguished’ few drive as if the road belongs to them?

Increasingly, though, I have learnt to just let go. And so, I ease up on the throttle, switch lanes, and carry on listening to the usual podcasts/lectures/calm music that accompany me on the road. After all, my own physical and mental well-being is far more important than ‘educating’ this reckless person. I can only hope that he gets stopped at some point by the authorities, but that is beyond my power.

In Islam, we are encouraged to ascribe good intentions or reasons for other people’s behaviour, even when they appear to be problematic at first presentation. So, when someone is driving in the emergency lane during rush hour (something that is unfortunately very common in Malaysia), we ideally should think that perhaps they have a genuine emergency instead of just acting like jerks! That is waaaaaaay easier said than done, however, and personally, I find it extremely difficult to be so gracious towards others in these situations. But I’m trying, and writing about it is one way to vent my frustration without escalating the matter any further.

In the future, I hope I will not be as bothered by these small incidents. They represent the ugly reality of modern society whereby people think they can do as they please without giving much thought to the safety and comfort of others. As long as the world continues to exist, characters like these will also pop up intermittently in our lives to test our patience. Hopefully, by focusing on more important issues and learning to let go of trivial or perceived insults, you and I can learn to respond better.