Breaking the Cycle


By Matthew Vanderford

Here’s something to think about: Picture in your mind your car alarm going off by itself for no reason. You grab your keys and hit the fob to make it stop……nothing. The alarm keeps going. So, you head outside, walk up to the car, open the door, put in the key, start the ignition and the alarm keeps going. You turn off the car. The alarm keeps going. You press the fob repeatedly – still nothing – the alarm keeps going. Seconds, feel like minutes, minutes feel like eternity…and the alarm keeps going.

Sweat begins to roll down your forehead. You yell at the car: “SHUT UP!!!”

The car replies: “BEEEEEEP!…BEEEEEP!!…BEEEEP!!!…BEEEEEP!!!!”

You yell back: “SHUT UP!!!” And triumphantly call the car an idiot.

Now things turn serious. Without a moment’s hesitation, the car receives your energy and just like waves at the beach, rolls back in with “BEEEEEEP!…BEEEEEP!!…BEEEEP!!!…BEEEEEP!!!!”

That’s it, you get out – slam the car door – curse at the car – kick the tire – curse again and the car answers back: “BEEEEEEP!…BEEEEEP!!…BEEEEP!!!…BEEEEEP!!!!”

In an attempt to regain some control and gather your composure (so as to not embarrass yourself in front of the neighbors), you decide to take a more gentle approach. With hands clasped and slightly raised, you follow everything you’ve heard on non-aggressive confrontation techniques. You begin by speaking softly, and ever so politely, “Car, I understand you’re having a bad day. Every car does. But please, this is really tough on me, people might start to stare. And…I really need your help. Will you please turn off your alarm so we can all go about our day?”

And what do you know…silence! YOU DID IT! Raising your hands in victory, you do your best victory dance EVER, and then head inside only to hear as you close the door “BEEEEEEP!…BEEEEEP!!…BEEEEP!!!…BEEEEEP!!!!”

At this point, you’re probably thinking – who would do that? Who would talk to their car and ask a piece of metal to stop? That doesn’t make any sense. That’s not how cars work. Just disconnect the battery- it’ll stop. That might seem logical at first, but how many of us have ever yelled at inanimate objects for getting in the way and causing you to trip down the steps.

Now, let’s step out of this story and into another. You’re outside working in the yard. Your youngest child decides to wash the van with the windows down. You open the rear tailgate. Water has filed the stow-n-go. You call in an insurance claim, send in the pictures, send in the video, and then get back a $358.00 dollar check. WOW!

Now, a person could yell. A person could scream. A person could do all kinds of things.
But one thing is sure. One thing we know. Objects can’t help when you stub a toe.
So, instead of yelling at the machine. Take a wild ride in the emotional sea.

To places that take you to depths of great peace. Places and spaces where worries can cease.

Thoughts begin in the head and end in the heart. And knowing what to do is a great place to start.

Doing what comes almost naturally, like becoming angry is natural and healthy. But knowing what to do with the energy behind the anger can make all the difference in the world.

*Author’s note: I affectionately refer to the insurance industry as a machine, because it is just that. It’s a mechanism designed to handle risk and investments all over the world. Health, life, disability, property and casualty insurances are parts of a huge global economic driver: Insurance. It is a machine. And yelling at machines rarely ever work. Even when your car decides to talk back in the middle of the night, or some insurance companies don’t pay what’s appropriate for repairs.