Lane Change

Komal Vachhani
5 min readJun 6, 2022

This world kind of sucks. There are things that make it worthwhile living in — sunsets, beaches, ice cream, and ice cream on the beach overlooking a sunset. But oh, the people. We’re so mean to each other. It’s programmed to be us versus the aliens. Or the zombies. Or whatever else. But, it seems that we are our greatest fans and simultaneously our worst enemies.

There are almost 8 billion inhabitants of Earth as of right now. If we injected a little more compassion into the world as individuals, imagine how much more pleasant place this world would be to live in.

My inspiration for this blog post comes from when I was picking my little sister up from school. The lane beside me was merging, so I let a car in front of me. That exact car had another car in front of them that was also looking into merging into my lane. As traffic moved, the car in front of me refused to let the other one into our lane. Why are we so quick to take, and so reluctant to give back? Although this doesn’t relate directly to the big picture I’m aiming to capture through this post about compassion and kindness, it got me thinking about human approaches.

It’s our mortal instinct to find all the horrible qualities in other people. We spend more time chatting about how much it must suck to be that person, or how everyone must hate them when we’re simultaneously exhibiting undesirable qualities ourselves. The irony in these types of situations is kind of funny when you think about it.

It’s so incredibly effortless to comment on others’ lifestyles, failures, and attitudes. However, it takes a gracious person to try and understand why. There’s no reason why someone would purposely want to put the worst versions of themselves out there — there are typically other circumstances that have impacted the specific part of their life that you get to see. I learned about this one analogy a few years ago that really changed my outlook on how I viewed people. Think of someone’s life as a book. No matter how long you’ve known them, whether it be a day or 10 years, you’ll never truly know the contents of every chapter. Their triumphs, their tough realities, their mountains, and their valleys. The only individual that truly knows someone’s book inside and out is the person whose book it is. Nevertheless, it is totally normal to be lost in your own book. After all, a table of contents exists for a reason.

I love my book analogies. Straying away from the primary topic of this blog post, because, hah, my blog, my rules (quote credits to me from kindergarten), here is another one. We’ve all dealt with this one — where we go back, revisit old books and expect a different ending to come from them. One of the biggest things that have made me considerably more compassionate is learning how to be more forgiving. We’re all humans and we all make mistakes. Bearing grudges does more harm to us than it does to the person we’re upset about. What I didn’t quite realize is that you can forgive someone, and still not go down the same path you did before. At that point, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Yes, people change, they improve, but until they show you that, don’t waste your time expecting a different ending to come from it. And definitely don’t waste time continually resenting people. When you start forgiving, you’re ridding yourself of pent-up anxiety and becoming a more understanding individual in the process.

Anyways, I’ll stop talking about books and pose another question for your consideration instead.

Why are people so hesitant to tell people how they really feel? A compliment takes 2 seconds to express, but the receiver would think about it all day long. It really does wonders for people. My friends that know me, know I’m not afraid of telling people I miss them. It doesn’t really matter to me whether or not they say it back, as long as they know I value their existence. However, this wasn’t always an easy reality to accept. I recently realized that just because my love language is words of affirmation doesn’t mean everyone else’s is. The friends that don’t verbally reciprocate their feelings show me that they care in other ways, and I’ve learned to appreciate that. Actions speak louder than words anyway.

I obviously don’t mean to attack anyone in specific with this, nor am I saying that I haven’t been that person before, but it boggles my mind that as humans we have the ability to consciously select words that we know will hurt someone. And worse, why do we get satisfaction from that? According to the Harvard Database of Useful Biological Numbers, the duration of a human blink is between 100–400 milliseconds. Think about how many times you blink. Why would we spend all those blinks formulating nasty comments, spend more blinks articulating them, and spend even more blinks feeling guilty afterwards? We think we’re hurting somebody, and while we do temporarily succeed at that, we’re ultimately wasting our own time, which really just hurts us in the long run.

I’d like to introduce you all to one of my favourite quotes from a book that changed my life. My seventh-grade teacher read our class the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio and I can confidently say it challenged me to truly evaluate how I treated people.

“If you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose being kind”
— Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

I recommend this book to literally everyone. It teaches you to treat everyone with kindness and embrace differences, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. It’s just one of those books that make you think, even years after you’ve read it.

Okay, okay. I’ll actually stop talking about books now.

I recognize that this post was 10 times more serious than the aura I exhibit in person, but that’s the beauty of this blog — partly for me to document my opinions/how they change over time, and partly for people to read and start meaningful discussions.

I’m definitely not saying I’m the best at being a compassionate person, but I see value in being aware of how my actions affect the people around me. Being conscious about being conscious brings you a step towards being a more empathetic human. As Uncle Ben Parker says, “I don’t mean to lecture and I don’t mean to preach.” These are my thoughts, and you can take them with a grain of salt. Or pepper. Or sugar. Or don’t take it at all. Be a rebel instead 😈

Whatever you do, never forget the Golden Rule.

Until next time!

Komal

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Komal Vachhani

Hey, I’m Komal. I like to put my thoughts on life into writing to reflect on later. Follow along for growth and more learnings!