Do You Get Upset Easily and Overreact?
When it comes to a disagreement with a colleague, are you one of those women who immediately fires back an email with three paragraphs justifying your viewpoint? When you get into a argument with your spouse, do you end up just walking away? When it comes to your children, do you raise your voice and, then moments later, tell your children to stop shouting at each other? I’ve been there. Your emotions take over. You get upset. You tell yourself it’s their fault. Not yours.
It happens quickly, doesn’t it?
Perhaps you can relate to this, but have you noticed how passionate you get about the issue itself? The nitty, gritty details. Who said what, how it was said, what happened, and what didn’t happen. What we don’t realize is that the real issue is how we relate to the issue.
Considered the possibility that you’re big emotional reaction had nothing to do with anyone else. In fact, it’s simply an opportunity to look within and recognize something deep down inside of you that was triggered and needs to be healed.
If you’re goal is to show up and experience the greatest version of yourself, imagine how it would feel if you could approach issues from a place of calm inside of yourself? This doesn’t mean that you can’t experience disappointment, frustration, or sadness. However, the way in which you engage those emotions will look different. It’s from this place that you’ll be able to communicate in a way that truly serves both others and you for the highest good.
Let me give you a real life example. This week, I received a call from my seven year old son’s elementary school, notifying me that there had been an anonymous shooter threat made. Note, we live in Los Angeles, so there was heightened tension because of the terrible tragedy in San Bernardino. Immediately, hundreds of emails and texts with additional bits of info and hypotheses around what was happening started flying around.
You could feel the blanket of fear covering our little town within Los Angeles. Some parents were immediately saying their kids wouldn’t go to school, while others were feeling paralyzed. I witnessed every kind of reaction you could imagine. Outrage about not receiving enough information. Fear as to how this could happen.
As this whole experience was going on, I was very aware that this was going to be a personal decision as to whether or not I would send my son to school the next day. I also had the revelation that I could make a choice to relate to the issue in a way that best reflected who I want to be in this world. I could react emotionally, kicking and screaming about the way in which I thought it should be handled, or I could choose a calm, thoughtful response, allowing me to communicate in a more loving way so that any feedback or message I wanted to share could actually be heard by the powers at be.
With this in mind, here’s the three-step process I use to help me stay calm and minimize my emotions, so I can behave in away that is in accordance with my values. I will caveat this by saying, I’m human. While it’s always my intention to use this process, it doesn’t mean it happens every time. And, that’s OK. With practice, these steps can become your default.
Give the benefit of the doubt. Many people assume the worst in situations. Instead, hold a vision of possibility and positivity in your head. You really don’t know what’s going on with other people, so don’t assume.
Check in with yourself. If you’re feeling upset, it’s a sign that the outer experience has triggered an unresolved issue inside of you. You can choose to work and heal your issue or not.
Act in accordance with your values. If you desire to show up peacefully and lovingly, then hold yourself accountable. Get conscious.
For me, it would have been incredibly easy to have an emotional reaction to this event at my son’s school. By following these helpful tips, I was able to navigate the situation in a way that still allowed me the dignity of my own process and helped me sleep at night and make a decision out of calmness rather than fear.
It’s easy to get upset, blame others, and stomp our feet. However, it doesn’t leave us feeling good about ourselves and doesn’t support us in living from our best version.
If you find yourself going down this path, remember the issue isn’t about the other person. It’s not about the content of the the situation at hand. It’s truly about how you’re relating to it. If you find yourself triggered, hold a mirror and look into it. There’s an opportunity to heal something inside of you. Imagine all the possibilities when you do this work.
How might you see a work colleague’s point of view differently?
How might you connect with your partner in a more loving way?
How might you feel more compassion and patience towards your children?
How might you be able to make a decision from a place of confidence instead of fear?
I’m inviting you to try it on for size. It might feel odd at first because it’s counter intuitive. That’s okay. If you’ve come this far in reading the article, then go for it. It’s another tool to help you live consciously and love the life you live.