Life Lesson: What Are You Really Feeling?

WHAT?!

Nothing good ever comes from a reaction like that. Nothing good rarely elicits one like that either.
But that’s how it went down earlier this week.
I was informed of a development in a class I was hosting and “WHAT?!” was my response. And, yes, all caps, exclamation point, and question mark were all needed. I was incredulous, questioning, exclaiming and I possibly was yelling, at least in my head.
The whats-its and who’s-its of what happened really don’t matter. In fact, often they never really do. It’s always about the response or the reaction.
I clearly was reacting.
I was angry, incensed and bent out of shape — in an instant.
But I was at the grocery store doing Thanksgiving shopping so I couldn’t totally lose it and I didn’t have anyone to rant to except the person who texted me and you can only be so mad typing with a keyboard the size of your palm.
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Instead I had to sit with my emotions. Actually, I was pushing a grocery cart full of emotion around but still.
Then it finally hit me. I wasn’t really mad, I was hurt. In my mind, whether true or not, another person’s actions left me with the story that they didn’t trust me or my intentions. It also left me feeling like they didn’t respect me.
Two revelations:
1. I don’t know that any of this is true. This is the story I am telling myself.
2. The emotion that screams the loudest isn’t necessarily the truest.
Hmmm isn’t that complicated?
Because I was forced to be with myself while I continued shopping I was able to walk it all the way through more quickly than if I picked up the phone and started venting or jumped on Facebook to see who else was going to annoy me today. (great attitude, I know)
I had to be present with myself, my discomfort and it passed.
The impetus for my irritation in the grand scheme of life was infinitesimal so that helps in the quick dissipation but it’s also a lesson I’ve heard many times before but often forget or ignore in the heat of the moment.
You hear the advice of “sit with your emotions,” “take a moment, breathe, so you can respond instead of react.” These all sound like great ideas when you aren’t disregulated and angry. But when you are, all that breathing and responding feels ridiculous. And I am resistant to it. In those moments, I am not sure I want to let go of my self-righteous anger. I am not sure I want to be at peace. I want to get even.
Not my best side.
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But this week through the luck of the cosmos I was alone and forced to get over it already.
In the season that tends to push lots of folks sharing DNA together, this might come in handy. That or a bottle of vodka.
Again, complicated.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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