As you read this quote and then as you read this post …. pun intended 🙂
Have you ever lost your temper, I’m talking fire-breathing-destroying-a-small-village-leaving-no-survivors-to-tell-the-tale type temper…. alright I may have exaggerated slightly… there are survivors, that’s the only reason the madness can be traced back to you.
If you have experienced the above… you are not alone. And yes! Perhaps that’s an extreme presentation… but I’ve dipicted it as such for good reason.
I’ve often found that when I have these explosive moments or perhaps when a member of my family does… it has absolutely NOTHING to do with what we are getting upset about! (I’m not referring to an average argument or upset…. I’m talking an extreme reaction)
Say for instance you gave me a …… red skittle. HOLY MOLEY you are the most inconsiderate, hurtful, malicious person! Ever! How could you just give me a red skittle like that! And the way you offered it to me! I totally heard attitude!
Clearly giving me a red skittle was not done to upset or offend me, BUT because something is already brewing deep inside of me…. that simple fact you gave me my least favourite coloured skittle sent me off my rocker and the fire came out to play.
Again … a bit of an extreme analogy, but hopefully you get what I’m saying. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is making us upset…. or is causing our reactive and defensive mood. And when we don’t have a clear input BREATHING is essential for having a manageable output.
Taking frustrations and anger out on an unbeknownst victim is not the answer. And can strain relations (speaking from experience) BUT what if it does happen, and we do lose it over nothing??? Aplogize. Simple as that… although it may cause you to bite your tongue and swallow your pride…. a sincere apology for taking nothing and turning it into contention purely because you are in that particular mood… yup that deserves some serious breathing exercises and an apology.
And what happens if you are the one on the receiving end of such a blast? Don’t take it personal! That doesn’t mean you accept it, it means you look at the bigger picture… and see if all the ducks are adding up… and usually they are not.
The past few days, an individual I am very close with has been in a very defensive & reactive mood. Anything and everything I said seemed to somehow turn into venom. I honestly was at a loss for words (hard to believe I know) I felt like I was only adding fuel to their fire! So, what did I do? I stopped and allowed myself to breathe. And then I reminded myself that they weren’t actually upset about the simple question or comment I made, and it was most likely something completely different that they were mad about. So with that mindset I approached the situation. Attempting to apply empathetic listening … just listening not replying…. and what happened? The fire ceased to burn me, and they explained what was really making their blood boil… which had nothing to do with me!
A piece of advice that has lessened my reactivity over the years is “don’t assume the worst from someone.” Generally our society does this. It assumes that the guy who cut us off is a jerk… rather than a guy whose panicking because his wife is at the hospital about to have their baby. Or that the grumpy cashier is miserable when in reality she’s a single mom working 3 jobs and just had a customer yell at her….
When we are in a reactive mode …this is when it’s crucial that we do not assume the worst behind peoples simple sentences and actions… and when someone does explode try to look at the bigger picture and not assume the worst of them … it’s a challange by all means BUT most likely that fire breathing dragon needs a good laugh and a giant hug… in order to let off some steam. Oh how punny.