Have you ever had the experience of getting gradually more fed up, and then eventually overreacting at the wrong time, with the wrong person?
As a pretty placid person this is something I really need to watch, and as you may imagine, when I have let the wrong person have all the angst and fury created by 2 dozen other people and situations, I’ve felt really bad about myself for several days. It takes quite a while to recover from overreaction.
The trouble is, if you try to be a kind and decent person, you often stay quiet when you should nip something in the bud immediately it starts. You confuse yourself with ‘they didn’t mean it’, ‘didn’t mean it that way’, ‘it came across wrong’, and every other excuse you can possibly make for anyone else but yourself. Because of course, a decent person can’t forgive themselves for unkindness however mild.
A counsellor once told me that anyone who has a mental breakdown, acute anxiety, or finally snaps, has been too strong for too long with too many people in too many situations.
Is to become more aware of yourself and how you’re feeling, and teach yourself to react immediately. If you do so life is much easier. “I’m going to dismember you and scatter your parts to the four winds!” becomes “Hold on, what did you mean by that? Did I understand you correctly?” Immediacy is excellent for stress levels, and will leave your sense of who you are and who you want to be intact, whereas overreaction will dismember it and scatter your mind to the four winds.
Many years ago I had a mate who used to describe himself as being an ocean of serenity, on his most irritated days. He asked me how I was once and I replied “I’m an OOFS”. It stood for ocean of f***ing serenity. He went into meltdown on the end of the phone, and from that moment on we would share OOFS alerts by text.
This might sound very silly, and not as funny in repetition as it was in person, and yet that silly joke stopped both of us overreacting on any number of occasions. So…
The Saving Grace
When you have managed to let people push you too far, and you realise that you’re about to start lopping off heads and are in danger of becoming thoroughly ashamed of yourself, don’t ever forget that saving grace that is humour.
Distract yourself by trying to create a joke or making up your own funny side to the situation. Your mental health will thank you and you will remain in a state of grace.
Overreacting, losing your temper, screaming (at the wrong person), it’s just not worth the energy. You now have 3 steps.
- React immediately
- If that fails find the humour
- Chocolate, coffee, cake, or all three. Distract yourself by getting a treat and enjoying it. Then come back and deal with it.
To your happiness, mental health, and in the avoidance of self-loathing