I have recently come across the idea of noticing in a few parenting books. It means realizing what your child likes, and instead of making a judgment statement to them, such as, "I love it when you color pretty pictures," or, "I love how well you dance," you should say, "Wow, I have noticed that you like to draw pictures for daddy, " or, "I've noticed how much you love to dance!" A subtlety, sure; but a significant one. One that makes a huge difference on the self esteem of a child. A child who has the freedom to grow up and be what they always dreamed of- not what they think would make some else- especially their parents- happy.
Today as I drove home, it was just beginning to snow, and there was a driver behind me who was clearly wanting to speed past. I started to get slightly irritated since the weather didn't provide clear driving conditions, and I had two babies in the backseat. Before allowing myself to further indulge my feeling to get over and give him a clear and direct point to the innocent children in the back seat and a furrowed brow, I thought of the idea of noticing.
What I noticed was that this man was in a hurry. Period. Ok. Got it. I'll move over for you. What's the problem with that? Am I really going to waste a single moment on some less-than-intelligent (woops, a judgment!) man that feels the need to get somewhere 30 seconds faster than I do? OK, so I won't get upset. I won't judge him. I won't waste time. I'll simply notice. Notice he is in a hurry.
This little idea has such dramatic implications on the happiness, the peace, and the extra moments I'll own thinking of something brighter. It goes beyond road rage. It can be used anytime someone talks about something they enjoy, something they dislike- it's a way to know someone and their values without judging that they are different than you. This is the most freeing thought process, and is, in my experience, the easiest way to get away from judging others! In the end I will be glad knowing that I didn't allow the anger and frustration over someone else's value system to rob me.