Every time we open a door for another, allow them to pass first, concede to them in traffic, smile indiscriminately at them, let them cut in line…we are reprogramming a cue within them that feels they are not competing with us. Every time we allow others the space to work out their primal issues, without taking offense and reacting, we better them and ourselves.
Survival is ingrained at such a deep level that it may take many gestures from kind strangers to show others how to transcend the behavior to compete. If someone cuts us off in anger, they are not seeing us, but an enemy they have met from eons ago. How wonderful if that core dynamic can be chipped away, and replaced with a kinder interaction. Those who have compassion, foresight, and composure are capable of the effort to do so.
Whenever someone is thoughtless or unkind in your everyday encounters, imagine how your own child, partner, or friend has been ornery at some time in the past. You would want them to be treated with compassion even if their behavior in that moment didn’t warrant it. Be a kind friend to all strangers, because someone loves them somewhere. It also frees up a lot of energy in us, to just let go of that negative reaction, and maybe set off a chain reaction of kindness.