It's Not Me, It's You. How to Handle Your Reaction.
Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Do you feel like you’ve been getting the short end of the stick recently? Maybe it’s not just recently. Maybe it’s been going on for a while? And, when something bad happens do you find yourself feeling sorry for yourself or getting angry immediately and blaming the other person?
Today I’m going to talk about changing your reaction.
We’ve all had situations that were just plain unfair. That's such a funny word the word unfair. I used to say it a lot as a kid when life truly is unfair. I recently heard an adult say it and thought, that sounds so childish. As if they should be stomping their foot down and huffing. But, never the less, the word can accurately describe a situation, even as an adult.
I always like to think that even if a situation is unfair it’s still fixable. Maybe you were given the short end of the stick but you can still make something out of it. The problem is, how to handle your reaction to it when it happens.
Most times we feel like someone’s reaction to us is a direct correlation to who we are at that moment. Sometimes they’re right, we’re being a jerk. It happens. I would rather be wrong honestly. Then I can take responsibility immediately and simply end the upset. But, sometimes it’s their stuff and they’re simply taking it out on you. Sometimes it’s really not you, it’s them.
People can be jerks. They really can. The worst part is that most times they don’t even know they’re being one. They really think they’re right, entitled to their feelings and that you’re definitely wrong. It’s hard to argue with someone when they just won’t see it any other way. You feel cornered like nothing you say or do can get through to them and it feels like a lost cause. This is where your reaction comes in. Sure, you’re angry, you’re hurt, you just want them to see how wrong they really have it, but most times they won’t. So what can you do when you feel like you have no control?
Think About Where Their Reaction is Coming From
Most times people are operating from a place of ME. Those feelings might include the person who cut them off driving earlier that day, their boss expecting too much of them, their teenage son picking a fight with them. They’re coming in with all of these other emotions like, hurt, anger, sadness and failure and then you come along and boom, they take it out on you. They’ll choose you as their scapegoat so they can feel some control and relief. If you feel like someone is climbing all over you for no reason, the reason usually isn’t you.
Ooh, this is a hard one. You want to defend yourself but you don’t want to add fuel to the fire. Okay, so how do you do this? Stay calm. Feel free to add your opinion, state your claim, stand up for yourself. Just don’t expect them to receive that the way you’d hope they would. They won’t instantly understand that they’re being a jerk and apologize most times. It’s best to keep your voice even, you words simple and short. Don’t get into a long drawn out discussion about your side versus their side. Simply state your facts calmly and then end the conversation either by walking away or putting your phone down and hanging up. You wouldn’t expect a toddler to just stop throwing a temper tantrum just because you asked them nicely to stop, right? Sometimes they just have to cry it out alone in their room until they come back down to Earth and realize you’re not going to put up with that kind of behavior.
Know Your Boundaries
If you’ve never practiced boundaries before or aren’t sure what I mean by boundaries at all I highly suggest googling it for now. I’ll write an article on them soon. But, in essence a boundary that you make with someone is something you have to stick by. If you don’t it will give the person even more reign to walk all over you and submit control. So, how do you create a boundary? You simply tell them you won’t be talked to like this. When they’ve calmed down you’ll listen and discuss again. Then you stick to that. You don’t raise your voice to them and go back on your word now that they’re not allowed to raise their voice to you. Never play tit for tat with someone. If they do violate your boundary you tell them they’re violating the boundary you set and you calmly walk away or put down your phone. You don’t give in. By having a boundary you're protecting your heart.
Take Care of You
When someone is hurting you you might understand where they’re coming from or even the stress that’s in their life but that doesn’t make it justifiable to treat you poorly when it’s their problem. You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT, let them continue to hurt you no matter how much pain they might be in. You take care of you first. This is a big one when you’re used to thinking about others more than yourself. Even in airplane safety they tell you to put your air mask on before helping another. This is your life and you have to think about you first. For a lot of people this sounds selfish but it’s actually self care. You can’t take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to keep calm and carry yourself out of a bad situation no matter how little or how big it actually is. All of these suggestions are universal. The trick to them is having the self will and courage to stand up for yourself by changing your reaction, not fueling the fire and setting a boundary until it’s safe again. You are the most important person in your life. You have to take care of your heart because it’s the one that will be with you for the longest.