Two years ago or so, I drove past a single middle aged lady looking to catch a lift, she was stood on a slip road that led onto the motorway. I had hesitated a little too long to be able to pull over and ended up on the motorway. It bugged me, I drove all the way to the next junction turned around and went back again a 20 mile round trip. She wasn’t there, but I often think of it. Something small haunts me with the, ‘I should have’.
Only recently, I did a car boot sale, as I drove out in my car in the queue to exit the field, I saw a lady carrying some heavy bags, I thought she must have a car near, but in my rear view mirror I could see she hadn’t. I think about that moment often as she struggled 300 metres to the top of the field. Why didn’t I stop and just ask rather now regretfully look in my rear view mirror.
I think about these examples as examples where my fear took over my decision not to stop.
I say fear in its loosest terms and I want to explain. Our brains take a moment to evaluate a situation and in those moments when we question, if we should go and lend a hand to someone, we think of all the things that could happen.
‘Oh they will be ok’, ‘what if they say no thanks’, ‘what if they are insulted by the offer’, ‘what if they reject my offer’, ‘hey could take advantage of my kindness’
In reality, the worst possible answers to the above questions really have little impact on us if we don’t allow it. Rejection, ego, fear of what could happen. We stop ourselves from doing so much in those vital first moments when we think of helping because we overthink and allow fear to take over.
Some people don’t possess this fear, there aren’t many of them but they exist. My partner Paul was one of them, he once picked up a young girl who was clearly drunk on a cold dark road, had she continued she would have died from the cold or worse been picked up by someone not as kind, he actually did have reason to have fear for there were a number of things that he could have been accused of, but he dropped her off where she wanted to go, made sure there was safety and called the police to explain the situation and where he had dropped her. He didn’t hesitate, he just knew that was he had to do. He was the sort of person that would wait for the lift doors to shut and then start up polite conversation with the strangers, at first I use to cringe, but you soon change because when you experience someones kindness given without fear it becomes so infectious as you realise in fact there is nothing to fear.