When we witness behaviors or hear comments that we perceive to be less than socially acceptable, we often pass judgment on the offending person or persons, wondering how they could behave in such a manner or say such an inappropriate thing.
Whether we are in social or business environments, we all need reminders, from time to time, about how we present ourselves to others, particularly when we find ourselves in sensitive or uncomfortable situations.
We have all said or done things in moments of anger or frustration that we regret. “You make me soooo angry!” “You really disappoint me.” “You frustrate the heck out of me!” “You really know how to press my buttons!” How many times have you uttered statements like these to friends, business colleagues or even family members? How did the person that you lashed out at feel in the aftermath?
In our anger and frustration, we often blame others for our reactions. Well ladies, the truth is your spouse didn’t make you angry; your son or daughter didn’t disappoint you; your new co-worker didn’t frustrate you. No one has the ability to “push your buttons ” unless you give them the power to do so.
Your buttons represent unabated anger, disappointment or frustration that you have yet to resolve. There’s a story that goes like this: “If I stub my toe, and it hurts for five minutes, all I’ve done is stub my toe. But if it hurts for five hours, five days, five weeks, five months, five years, or five decades, then I have an infected toe! I have a condition that has not healed. Nothing will cure the problem with my toe until I get to the underlying infection.
All of the Band-Aids in the world won’t heal this wound. I have to heal the infection itself. Likewise, all of the affirmations in the world are powerless to heal your emotional distress. Whatever, the issue is, it will keep coming up until you take responsibility for improving your own emotional health.
But how in the world do you accomplish this? Whenever someone says or does something to make me feel sad, angry or like I’m going nuts inside, I recall a very wise quote: “Love brings up anything unlike itself for healing.” Translation: We have to do good things for ourselves in order to heal.
The healing process is hard work. It takes a lot of energy. Here are a few suggestions on how you can start your own healing process. First, give yourself permission to feel the way you feel. It’s okay to feel anger about what was done or said to you. Second, when the time is right (after your temper has cooled and your feelings are not so raw), go to the person with whom you are having the problem and tell her what you are feeling. Again, it is important that you do this when you are less emotional and feeling less vulnerable.
Start by asking a question like “Can you help me better understand what just happened?” Word of caution: Know that you are going out on a limb here, and if this person is not used to hearing from you in this manner, be prepared for whatever reaction you may get. Most people aren’t used to hearing the truth. This takes great emotional courage.
Keep your own emotional assessment tool or IFD handy. IFD stands for Intensity, Frequency and Duration. As yourself these questions: How intense am I? How often does this come up for me (frequency)? How long does it last (duration)?
Start by using your IFD on a weekly basis, but gradually decrease to monthly use, as appropriate. It is your own personal emotional self assessment tool. It reminds you of where you are with a particular issue or person, and, most importantly, with yourself. It tells you how you are healing.
So before you leave the house today, before you get in the car, before you start your day with the kids, at the office or the health club, put a button in your pocket to remind you to take responsibility for you emotions and allowing your buttons to be pushed.
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