DMV: A Lesson in Compassion?

On my quest for inner peace, I'm trying to think of difficult situations as growth opportunities. Before work this morning (and yesterday morning) I had to make a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a notoriously stressful place. Yesterday I went in expecting the best, but my hopes were quickly dashed as I approached the window and was sent away to bring back more paperwork. The woman helping me had no sympathy, which made me even more frustrated, and I walked away fuming (I was screaming at the top of my lungs...in my head, of course). But today I tried to take a different approach.


On my journey to DMV I practiced deep breathing and tried to relax. I also started to think about the workers there. I reminded myself that they, like myself, just want to be happy. So, I made up my mind that I would maintain a caring and kind attitude (no matter how they reacted to me).

I approached with a friendly smile and a simple joke, which set us off to a good start. Then when faced with a glitch, instead of freaking out, I took a deep breath, laughed and made a joke, which eased the tension immediately. The process went fairly smoothly after that and I left feeling better than the day before. I wouldn't say I was on cloud nine, but I was happy that I acted in a compassionate, patient manner, rather then causing others unhappiness with my frustrations. Maybe next time I'll bring cookies.

Simple kindnesses can go a long way. A kind hello to the building security man or a warm smile to a the store clerk can add a lift to both your days.

How do you practice kindness and compassion in you daily life?

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