Someone angered me on a job. Now I’m driving home, seething. Someone cuts me off on the road. I boil some more. I walk into the house and discover dog poop on the living room carpet and a tail wagging dog demanding my immediate attention when all I want to do is sit down and have a beer. I yell at the dog, then feel guilty about it. A suck-y day.
Sound familiar? It should because “that’s life”.
I have succumbed to the anger spiral way too often, but I think I am getting a bit better.
I started by reminding myself that everybody has issues. The person who initially pissed me off could be going through an incredible emotional upheaval; a divorce, a death in the family, a problem child at home or an unreasonable boss. Starting from a place of humanity means understanding that there is another thinking, feeling human being on the other side of the equation.
My own cycle of stress stemmed from one altercation on the job. Once I realize that my adversary is probably suffering in some way too, I can stop feeling angry about the squabble. I feel some compassion and understanding, putting me in a better frame of mind when I hit the road. The person cutting me off doesn’t bother me as much, and the dog? Forget about it, I’d love him and feel sorry for him anyway.
One change in perception can alleviate a whole day of tension and wasted mental energy (anger).
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