You work hard on your mindset and how you react right? You’re a good person. Each day you will strive to be a better, kinder and more enriched contributor to the human race.

But getting to this point isn’t easy, and lots of people underestimate their worth, based on how they’ve reacted to situations or how much conflict there is in their life. Sometimes though, conflict finds us. It’s sometimes unavoidable.

One of the parts of myself I’ve worked on is the way I react and to strive to find positive lessons in even the toughest circumstances. Sometimes the universe places situations in our lives in order to test us, guide us or open up a new opportunity. We may have to look carefully to see them, but they’re there!

That lesson has come at me again recently and this is why I’m sharing this story with you.

Are You Missing the Surprising Opportunities presented by Unexpected Conflict?

Sometimes People are Just Mean…

I don’t want to dwell on the fact that there are people out there who are simply unpleasant. There will always be folks who put belongings and personal gain over and above everything else in their lives. Some people will always value things over human connections and I cannot see this changing. These people will always exist and usually we can keep them at a distance.

Unfortunately though, we’re sometimes faced with situations where those people are planted in front of us. you find yourself glaring down the barrel of their indignation, unpleasantries and down-right rotten behaviour. But that isn’t the point. The point is where it takes us.

Confrontation

I parked in the supermarket today, reversing into a space as I always do (you’ll have your own parking style which you’ll probably now notice!) I always reverse into spaces, always have, always will. I don’t know why and usually, it’s not important. Today however, it was.

After parking, I sat for a moment in the car and wrote some notes; ideas that I’d had whilst driving (another quirk that often happens with us entrepreneurs!). On exiting my vehicle I found that I was quite close to the car next to me, because that car was parked really close to the line and on an angle. I, was in the middle of my space (just needed to clarify that!)

I managed to squeeze out but, in the process, must have bumped the car next to me with my car door. It wasn’t overly hard or I would have noticed. I grabbed my bags and started to make my way toward the supermarket, when I was confronted by the woman who had been sat in the car parked next to me. She opened her car door and informed me, in a very aggressive tone, that I had bumped her car and not to do it when I came back.

I was dumbfounded. I apologised. She then continued to inform me that I’d obviously got too much time on my hands and that I had deliberately parked in that space to be difficult. She complained that I had reversed into the space in order to create the situation, along with waiting in the car for longer than I’d needed to, after I parked. She then belittled my car, calling it an “old banger” and said I’d better not damage her £45k vehicle again.

This continued on for a while, her making judgements and assumptions about me, my car, my character….. until I eventually walked away. I did point out that she was parked on the line and therefore had actually created the situation herself, but that was the only argument I made. Some people will argue that the Sky is green, she was one of them.

Reactions

As human beings, our bodies react to situations in a primal way. We’ll never escape our fight or flight response because it’s ingrained into our physiology. It’s part of who we are and why we do what we do as a species. Its primal. And so, As a result of this unexpected carpark conflict, I found myself shaking.

Walking into the supermarket took all the power in my mind because my legs had gone to jelly and my arms seemed to want to vibrate off my body. This wasn’t fear. I need to make it perfectly clear that this was adrenaline. I was a bit cross, but more shocked. I had nowhere to put the energy that was coursing around my body and so I was shaking like a leaf.

My mind knew this was completely ridiculous. My mind rationalised the situation and knew that it was over, finished. The poor woman must have had a bad day.

2 years ago I would have responded differently to that situation, but that’s another story. My body still wanted to react in that same way so I literally vibrated, with my trolley, into the supermarket and straight to the coffee shop.

I managed to order my drink and have a pleasant chat with the awesome women who work there (they’ve become friends as a result of my frequenting that place!) but by the time I got sat down, I had burst into tears.

This was all simply because I had this huge rush of adrenaline and absolutely no where to put it. Without doing laps around the carpark I had nowhere to spend this excess energy. (Don’t you wish it was a form of currency? My shopping wouldn’t have cost so much!) So, my body decided that it would leak all the extra oomph I had, out of my eyeballs! In the middle of a coffee shop! Mortifying!

The Opportunity

Never mind my embarrassment, the point of the story is this: Because I became upset, a lady who had been sat opposite approached to ask if I was okay – nice, right?! This resulted in a long conversation and finding that we had a stupid amount of things in common. We’ve arranged to meet for coffee and to get to know each other better next week. Because of my silly tears, I got a new friend and potentially someone who will bring opportunities and enrich my life in ways I’m yet to see.

After the incident and meeting my new person, my mind went to places that I now have ingrained into my psyche.

  • It told me that there was a lesson here and I just had to find it.
  • It told me that she (crazy carpark lady) may be very ill, very stressed or have had a really bad day.
  • It also told me that her emphasis on her vehicular worth was so pronounced that she’s clearly very proud of being able to drive such a status symbol. Good for her if she’s earned it.
  • My mind also told me that she could just be an unpleasant person and I couldn’t do anything about that.
  • The lesson, I can’t fix everyone!

So, having begun my shopping trip in a less than optimistic way, I left feeling re-energised at my faith in the universe, having made a new friend, and having paid it forward by being extra nice and friendly to everyone I encountered during my shopping.

My little car park spat actually reaffirmed my belief that karma is a greater bitch than I can ever be, and my gratitude for the lessons I’m taught in this very finite life is forever expanding.

We cannot always control the ways our body reacts to circumstance, but we can control the way our minds respond. Ensuring that we are intentional with our thoughts, as much as with our actions means that we will always be a step ahead of the haters; because the universe has our back.

You also never know what’s going on in someone’s life. Just because this person didn’t care about me, doesn’t mean I can’t care about others. Being friendly and kind always, guarantees a top notch life!

Over to you then. What unpleasant and unavoidable situations have you had thrown at you lately and how did you react?

Have you moved on or do you still think about that conflict? Let me know in the comments!

Are You Missing the Surprising Opportunities presented by Unexpected Conflict? 2