Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

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Cut Off By a U-Turning Driver

One fine morning last week, with flashlight in hand, I took Blackie the wonder dog, for a walk. It was cold and dark. I was anxious to return home to let my ears defrost.

We walked past a parking lot and a white Honda  approached us going the opposite direction.

Suddenly the driver did a U-turn in right front of us and parked on the street. His car lights temporarily blinded me.

I thought:

Who does this guy think he is, the Dark Knight responding to an urgent bat signal?

He must think he owns the road.

I just knew this guy was an inconsiderate, self-absorbed Charlie Sheen clone.

charlie sheen

“Kind of cold isn’t it?” the driver said as he got out of the car with a big smile.

My frosty attitude towards him abruptly melted.

“Yeah, it looks like summer is finally over,” I replied.

I thought of Abraham Lincoln’s maxim, “I do not like that man. I must get to know him better.”

Well, I got to know him and he had disarmed me with his friendliness. Suddenly I liked him.

Dog Attack with No Apology

In contrast, last year in about the same place, I was walking Blackie when out of the blue, two dogs burst out of a screen door in a nearby house. They headed straight for Blackie and I, like heat-seeking missiles. The dogs barked and ran circles around us like a wolf pack.

After a minute or two, a lady stuck her head out the door and shouted to her dogs, “Get in here!” The dogs went in and she closed the door without a word.

Would it break her jaw just to say “sorry”? One friendly word would have broken the ice jam and disarmed my hard feelings, but none was given.

laser beam eyes

Now, my laser beam eyes are set on “stand-by” when I walk by that house, ready to unleash fiery retribution at my whim.

The lesson

We are almost powerless to hate a person who is friendly towards us, but it’s hard to forget those who deliberately do us wrong.

The next time I am in a situation where I might offend someone, even inadvertently, I will “disarm their hostility with friendliness.”

———-

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

———

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Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 

 

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