DEAR HARRIETTE: New York City is a very busy city. The other day, I had to travel to work using the subway -- which I rarely do -- and I had a crazy interaction. The weather was freezing cold and it had been snowing for days, but this day it stopped and the snow began to freeze on the ground. Walking to the train station for work, everyone was walking slower than usual to avoid slipping -- which is understandable. As I approached the subway, a lady, who was approximately 60 years old, began walking slowly in front of me, I'm assuming because of the icy ground. That was fine with me, but I was in a rush, so I went to walk around her; she shifted in front of me. She began to do this continually for more than five minutes, and I got annoyed. I got the feeling she was doing this on purpose, and I had the notion to trip her up for getting in front of me. Am I wrong for even thinking this? -- Impatient, New York City
DEAR IMPATIENT: Ever heard of the winter blues? Sounds like you've got a heavy dose of them right now! Living in the extreme cold of winter can be tough for people. Being out in the elements and being forced to move slowly can prove frustrating even when you are alone, worse when someone in front of you is slowing you down.
You already know that thinking hurtful thoughts about people is unkind. Thank goodness it was only thoughts that you had. What could you have done differently? Imagine if you stepped up next to this woman who is older than you and offered her your arm so that she would feel more secure while walking? Instead of frustration, you might have begun to feel compassion. Next time you sense extreme emotion welling up in you, invite compassion to take its place. It works!