If something is bothering you, don’t ignore it. Say it now.
Of course there may be times when you need to process and check in with yourself to ensure you’re not making a mountain out of a molehill but that won’t always be necessary.
Often, the reason we ignore things and don’t speak up in the moment is because we don’t want to rock the boat, we’re afraid of what the outcome will be, we’re worried about coming across as confrontational and sometimes we fear we’ll be dismissed.
It sometimes feels easier to say nothing and push the feeling aside. But then time goes by and that feeling grows and often ends up bothering you more than it did initially.
Putting things off also tends to cause anxiety and tension in your body as you’re quite literally holding onto you’re words.
And when you finally do decide to say something you’re reaction is totally out of proportion.
There’s not much use in putting it off, you might as well just say it now and get it over with.
A while back I came to the realisation that unless your basic needs like food, air and shelter etc. are at risk then any mistake you make or growth point you encounter is not ‘the end of the world’.
You can bounceback and get on with life. And that’s it. Life is as life does and like someone once said ‘it doesn’t stop till you’re dead’.
If you’re going into survival mode over small things that are just part of life that have no significant impact to your basic needs, you’ll undoubtedly struggle in life.
I think a useful thing to do is acknowledge you may have fears/triggers for your survival mode/panic button to go off but to check in and ask does it make sense to have the same reaction as though your life is at risk?
Survival mode is draining, our lives aren’t at risk in the way they used to be.
The way you would react when you’re angry, upset, frustrated or annoyed is not the same way you’d respond when you’re calm and relaxed.
Of course this is fairly obvious, yet how many times have you allowed your feelings to get the better of you instead of simply taking some time.
What ends up happening is you regret it later because now you’re calm, now you can see that actually this other person was trying to be helpful, in fact you agree with them. Maybe you look back and feel like the way you reacted didn’t even make sense.
Now that you’re calmer you can play out in your mind, the way you wish you had responded.
And then you can hold onto that and remember it for next time.
Here are 2 options for how to react when someone makes a mistake.
The first is to get mad as if the person made the mistake on purpose, maybe shout at them and ask why they did it.
The second is to let them know what they could have done better.
It’s similar to the idea of criticism and feedback. One of these reactions is useful whilst the other is simply someone using it as an opportunity to take out their own anger or frustration.
The first reaction will likely have someone feeling bad for doing something wrong and overtime could contribute to a fear of failure.
The second reaction will help someone understand what they can do differently next time and encourages growth.
On how pent up energy comes out in unexpected ways.
Sometimes when a person over reacts it’s because they’ve got built up frustration or anger and this particular situation has been the breaking point.
All of a sudden you’re losing your cool over ‘spilt milk’ and sometimes in the moment you don’t even know why you’re so mad.
In hindsight you know that ‘spilt milk’ wasn’t worth shouting about but you did it anyway.
And to everyone around you, you just overreacted or lost your temper because they don’t know about everything that led to that moment.
It might even change how they are around you, because when you’re around anyone can get it and nobody wants to be anyone.
So if you care enough you might want to learn to address things in the moment instead of letting them fester.
That way your response to ‘spilt milk’ will be about the ‘spilt milk’ not because your colleague was rude, someone lied to you and that family member keeps asking you for money.
Because every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
I’ve been using the term push-back for a while. I use it to refer to how we react to negative/un-ideal circumstances.
But not any reaction just the specific ones often done when our emotions are heightened and we’re angry or frustrated.
Imagine you’re a kid and you’re parents refuse to give you the freedom you desire. It’s quite likely that you’ll be annoyed and find some way (even if it’s small) to rebel.
Maybe that’s always coming home late or creating a secret life for yourself like haha I’ll show you.
Or as an adult maybe you have lots of goals and plans and someone tells you to slow down or that you’re doing too much. If that’s not what you’re happy to hear you might end up just doubling down on all your stuff and possibly burning out. That’s a form of pushing back.
However, there are other ways that you can choose to handle or manage situations. For example, you’re trying to get your book published you get 101 rejections so you decide to self publish.
It’s a reaction to an un-ideal situation but it isn’t out of anger or frustration. A push-back could have been getting rid of your book or replying to the rejections in anger and frustration. But you have to think about what’s actually helpful.
It might feel good to push-back but it might be more helpful to think about what the kindest and most helpful thing you can do for yourself to overcome the situation is.