Taming the ugliness (an apology)

Yesterday, I had gone for a ride with my 2 boys (4 & 7) along the bike path adjacent to Botany Bay starting in Brighton, down to Dolls Point and back. For those not familiar with this bike path, it’s a shared path with pedestrians for the most part, and cuts through 5 carparks.

In one of the carparks, there was a car blocking the bike path (it looked like the driver simply drove into the carpark and just parked the car across the bike path.

Getting Mr4 to look ahead and try and react early is impossible, and I had to speed up and ensure both of the boys stopped before hitting the car. Something in me snapped. I was infuriated at how pig-headed someone could be to park across the bike path!

  • I noticed that the driver was still in the car.
  • I decided (most likely unconsciously) to let the driver know what they had done, as they probably don’t realise it.
  • I approached the car and advised the driver that they were blocking the bike path and that my sons had almost hit the car. (That’s how I wanted it to transpire), but in reality I turned ugly 🙁 . I did let the lady know she was blocking the bike path and that she should move the car to a designated parking spot, but I am not sure I came cross in a non-threatening, friendly manner. I know I then began repeating myself louder…i.e. the refuge of the defeated.
  • Afterwards, I definitely did not feel like I had done a community service – in fact, I felt like crap, mulling it over in my head for the rest of the night.

I am writing this as an open apology to the lady + her passengers who had to see/experience the ugliness that is still within me. It should have gone differently, it could have gone differently, but it didn’t – and it’s my fault. The control of the situation was completely in my hands until I snapped and went down the ugly path.

You can read more about all my 2009 goals here.

5 replies on “Taming the ugliness (an apology)”

A wise man once told me: “you can’t control what happens; You can only control how you react to what happened.” There are two stages here:
1. what happened – the lady parked on the bike path.
Your reaction – you got mad, in public.
2. What happened – You got mad, in public
Your reaction – you publicly apologized!

See, you’re not all ugly ;). We all lose our temper from time to time. Most of us will just let it slide, but you went ahead and apologized in public!
Well done. I still see you as a good person.

See @DMscott article about David Letterman’s behaviour

Hey Andrew.. I would be surprised if someone ever considered your behavior ugly.. You are a lovely guy and a great dad who let his protectiveness get him heated up.

I was once taught a very useful technique by a fellow professional speaker, Colin James about how to keep control of emotions: identify, objectify, banish.. Basically you STOP, Identify the feeling – actually FEEL it (it might be a fire in your belly or a rising heat of anger in your body or it might be sickly fear). then OBJECTIFY it : some people chose the same object every time – like a green lizard or a monster or an angel.. IMAGINE the feeling as an object. THEN – in your mind, banish the object. Basically, you’re saying: ‘I feel you, I see you, now get lost’.

Now, I’m not usually one for all of this inner self stuff but this WORKS FOR ME. Even if it simply gives you a few moments breathing space, it works. xxx

Great to meet you at #nscm today. I understand how you felt about this as I’ve been in the right situation. Perhaps if you hadn’t blown up there’s a risk there’d be no behaviour change from the driver next time? And going back to apologise is 10x as hard as not saying anything at all, so kudos to you.

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