Yesterday I boarded a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Oahu, Hawaii. It was to be a 6.5 hour flight. I had taken special care to reserve a window seat. Upon boarding, I realized that I was seated in the middle seat, in the middle of the plane. I was so frustrated and annoyed! 6.5 hours in the middle seat!
So, I was getting myself settled in my seat with an undercurrent of grumpy judgementalism. The first thing that happened was a man in the row behind me offered to hold my tea while I got myself settled. Next the man sitting to the left of me offered to hold my tea while I buckled my seatbelt. Next, the man sitting to the right of me offered me the Phoenix newspaper that he had just finished. This all transpired while I was grumbling internally, empathizing with myself, feeling worried about how uncomfortable I’m going to be for the next 6.5 hours, blaming airport employees for my miserable situation, etc.
Within 10 minutes, well before the plane started moving, I remembered that if I continue on this course, I will ensure that my flight is utterly miserable. So, I took a deep breath, began empathizing with myself in earnest (not just enjoying the jackal show!), and began to shift my attitude. Then, I napped for about 30 minutes because I realized (through self empathy) that the biggest obstacle for me was only getting 4 hours of sleep the night before.