Traffic Cones & Mortification

Driving kids to school can be stressful, but when you run over the school’s cones and have the police officer directing traffic shame you, it really brings that stress level to a plummeting despair.

No joke, my husband calls me Cruella Deville.  It’s not because I’m a bad driver; it’s because when we dated I drove a 1968 VW bug and hunched over the steering wheel.  But back to those school cones. 

I didn’t even see them.  I was completely in my row.  But next thing I know I hear a small thud and the officer, who I used to admire and think was a badass, gave me the worst grumpy grandpa look of shame you could ever imagine.  I rolled down my window and tried to apologize, but if you know how car drop off works, there is no slowing down for a sincere apology.  And at that point his red impatient face wasn’t going to accept it. 

I kept driving, and all I could feel was complete remorse, guilt and of course embarrassment.  I really am a good driver!  And just because I almost was in an awful car crash the day before doesn’t mean that I am one who disregards traffic laws, or school cones.  Truthfully the mortification came in tears.  One small incident brought my morning down. 

When fighting depression, in particular, even the smallest situation that is inconsequential to our lives can put us in a downward spiral.  The process? self-doubt, blame, inner hatred, and then believing all the lies that come from that dark place in our heads. That subconscious part that fights with us all the time. 

How do we overcome that feeling of worthlessness?  

  1.  Reflection.  Take a moment in the midst of the negative self-talk, and ask yourself some questions.  Why does it matter so much?  Am I a bad driver?  Does Badass Officer’s judgment of my action need to be taken so personally?
  • Answer a few of those questions. I liked the officer and having his disapproval makes me sad.  Sometimes I can be careless while driving.  The officer’s reaction was justified, and I don’t have to hold on to all the embarrassment and shame of running over a few cones. 
  • Remind yourself that it’s okay not to be perfect.  No one is perfect.  Mistakes are made daily.  And you bet your tushy that someone else has run over those cones and got the same mean, gruff disapproval from the same officer.
  • Take a few deep breathes. Breathing deep is cleansing and can give you a fresh start through the day.
  • And most importantly, once you acknowledge that yeah you made a mistake, the officer had a right to be mad, and there’s room for improvement, then forgive yourself.

So even when your day gets overloaded, thrown off schedule, or down right down, do that reflecting, breathing and forgiving because a few cones shouldn’t ruin your whole day.

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