Being special vs. acting special

While it’s been a bit of a journey, I am a firm believer in everyone’s sanctity. It might not be always easy to see it, particularly in criminals or terrorists, yet no one was born to be evil and as such our nature is inherently good.

Last week I got a ticket and it made me wonder what it means exactly to act as someone who believes in my own sanctity, just like I believe in everyone else’s. Let me explain …

Since I was overdue for an oil change I used my fiancé’s car to get to my 5am crossfit work out. As I was driving, I actually saw a cop at the intersection and I made sure to come to a complete stop at a red light before making a turn. I was so proud of myself for being so alert at such an early hour. Then out of nowhere, I see police lights flashing in my rearview mirror and I pulled off to the side full of confusion. What could the cop possibly want from an upstanding, decorated veteran like myself? Well as it turns out, I was driving with my lights off. I am used to auto lights feature on my car and totally missed it. In fact, I was blown away by the brightness of the lights when I actually turned them on. Then the most awkward thing happened. The policeman asked my for my driver’s license and proof of insurance. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my driver’s license on me so the cop took my info and went back to his car. After about 10 minutes he came back with a “citation.”

Citation? Is that like a ticket? – I asked full of confusion

Sir, just call the number on the ticket and they’ll tell you what to do – the cop replied with coldness

Like a kid misunderstood by grownups, I said “thank you” and drove off.

During my workout, all these thoughts started coming: Doesn’t police have bigger “criminals” to go after? Is this what you get for not sleeping and not ignoring fitness? This is why cops are hated, they have no empathy! And so on …

In short, I expected special treatment and when I didn’t get it, I got upset. Usually, I am not the kind of person who expects special treatment, but this situations showed me that while I was able to maintain my composure, on the inside, I still was not where I’d like to be. Quite frankly, I think this is what actually upset me the most …

What’s the lesson then? Maybe not so much a lesson, but a reminder that I, just like everyone else, I am a human who gets carried away by emotions. So as top athletes who practice for perfection and fall short many times, I choose to view this as a reminder of how acting like a person of peace is a daily work out. Effort not only in discipline, but also in self-compassion when I fall short to give space for recovery as preparation for doing better next time … thus creating an environment where my actions continue to align ever closer to who I really am.

When I got home, I looked at the ticket. The cop could have written me up for two violations, but only wrote me up for one, not having driver’s license, which is not a moving violation that has insurance policy consequences. Turns out my cold cop, was more empathetic than I thought.

How about you? What does acting special mean to you? What happens when you fall short?


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