You’ve heard me talk about putting the cup down and walking away on Rachel’s Daily posts on social media; this is such an important lesson to learn when it comes to mastering the art of staying calm, and here is why.
Let’s say you’re having an interaction with someone and you begin to feel that angst inside. Your buttons are being pushed, your tongue hurts from biting it, you’re about to lose it; what do you do? Before you blow your top, remember you have options. Knowing you have options will always give you a feeling of relief and freedom (I’ll write more about that next week:).
Obviously you can stick around, allow your anger to take over, or as I like to say, “pour yourself a glass of poison,” let yourself get swept away in a storm of negativity, perpetuated by differences of opinions, or my favorite – try to change someone’s perspective. OR you can put the cup of poison down and walk away. Easier said than done. Ah, but is it?
Most people believe their opinions are the best ones, while the wisest of people realize that there is always something to learn. In a case like this where you have someone pushing their perspective on you and judging you for not conforming to it, you have so much to learn, not only about the other person, but about yourself as well. The key is to stay calm and ask yourself a few questions.
1. Do you care about this person enough to sacrifice your own well being?
2. How important is this to you?
3. Is there a lesson to be learned here?
First of all, no one, and I mean no one, is worth sacrificing your own well being for. The person in front of you is battling their own inner war that has zero to do with you. You are, at that moment, simply that person’s excuse for lashing out. You always have the choice of saying, “look, I realize you are upset right now, but I will not be the reason you are upset. I was put on this earth to have my own preferences and opinions. Neither of us is right or wrong, it just is what it is.
Think about it like this. Imagine the challenges we face when making a change in our own lives. This could be a change of career or relationship, or an inner change like loving ourselves more. Now imagine trying to change someone else…yes it teeters on the impossible. The only one we can change is our-self, full stop.
Now, if the person or topic is of great importance to you, you have the option of saying, “look, this is important to me, but I will not have a shouting match with you about it.”
Once things have calmed down you most likely will be able to have that conversation in a way that nurtures the relationship, because you care enough and now know there maybe something to learn from each other.
This leads me to #3. Is there a lesson here? Of course there is.
You may learn that this person has some pretty good ideas that hadn’t occurred to you. You may take parts of what is said and incorporate it into your perspective and be grateful for the interaction. Every interaction you have, if you pay attention, has something to teach you. You may learn that this person is not someone you want to have a future with. Whatever it is, listening and watching someone’s behavior while you have interactions with them is the key to finding out what a person is all about.
I just had an interaction with a woman that went something like this:
So I’m picking up my kids from school and this woman parks her car in one of the allotted spots in front of the school. Now understand, the entire area is packed with cars. If you park in an allotted spot chances are you will have to wait in order to get out. This is why I never park there unless I know I have time. So this woman parks in one of the allotted spots and I’m right next to her. Her kid comes out and now she wants to leave. There are cars in front of me and behind me so I can’t move. She starts screaming at me and cursing at me and even dropped the “f” bomb at me.! I decided to put down the “cup” and try explaining to her that I couldn’t move my car because there were children and other cars blocking me in all directions. She called me a liar due to the fact that while I was waiting to get out of her way my children came out of the school. In her eyes this made me a liar because I was waiting for my kids and purposefully not getting out of her way. This was not the case.
Perspective – I had no idea what war this woman was going through in her life, yet I was her reason to blow her top. Even though I went to her, attempted to calm her down, nothing was going to work. She was not willing to put down the cup. Luckily I was, and I smiled and drove away.
So the next time you find yourself on the verge of pouring yourself a cup of poison remember, it’s you that will be left feeling the residual effects of it; upset stomach, exhaustion, sadness, lingering anger… So please, put the cup down, vent to a friend, one friend, get it out and move on… let it go.