Haven’t we all heard someone say; he made me so mad? Maybe we’ve even said it ourselves.
Well, let me tell you, no he didn’t….. make you mad. ‘He’ did not make you mad. You chose to be mad.
BTW, This is not a post to bash men. I’m using the term ‘he’ only because I don’t favor using he/she or some such silly thing. So when ever you see ‘he’ feel free to replace it with ‘she’ if it’ll make you feel better, because I’m all about making you feel better. Now back to the regularly scheduled post.
It’s so very common of us to blame another person when we get mad. It’s very easy to say, He makes me so mad. I know I’ve said it. We use their actions to justify our anger. But it’s still our anger. Our feelings. Our choice.
That’s not to say that someone isn’t being rude, or obnoxious, or mean, or ugly, or well you get the point. They may be acting in a way that any reasonable person would observe as offensive, but you still have to choose to be offended. OR you can choose to let it go. I read a quote by Ken Keyes Jr once that said, You put as much negativity in the world when you TAKE offense as when you GIVE offense. That was one of those ‘WOW’ moments for me. It put a whole new thought into my head. And I took it to heart.
Several years ago…. in a land far, far away, I was having a heated discussion with a friend of mine. At the time this ‘friend’ was becoming much less of a friend. In fact, we were very close to going our own separate ways. He was critiquing some of my recent activities, judging them to be poor choices, bad and just plain wrong. I tried to sit there and listen to his critique (criticism) without getting mad. I really tried. But then he said one thing too much and I lost it. Blew up big time. Yelled, screamed and stomped out, vowing to never return. I think you get the picture.
But now comes the pop quiz. What made that ‘one more thing’ the thing that set me off?
I had reached the point where I choose to get mad. He’d been trying to make me mad for several minutes. And I had been doing a fairly good job of disappointing him. I had been doing my best to stay calm. I think that’s what pushed him to keep going. He wanted to get a rise out of me and he kept pushing until he was successful. Not a pretty picture, I can assure you.
The funny thing is, it didn’t occur to me to just leave BEFORE I got mad. Nooooo, I waited until I had reached my limit and then I stomped off in a huff. Why didn’t I just excuse myself when the whole critique session started? Why didn’t I just bow out, say thank you for your time, but now it’s time for me to go? I don’t know. I wish I had. Not because it would have saved our friendship, it had more problems that just that one, but because it would have saved my temper. I could have chosen to save myself from getting mad. I could have seen my limit on the horizion and blown some wind into my sails to catch the receding tide. But no. I stayed, with some dimwitted idea that it would be rude for me to leave.
Let me tell you, it was far more dimwitted for me to stay and let him heap abuse upon me, mostly because I know I’m not good at taking abuse. BTW, that’s not a talent I plan to pursue anytime soon.
This post is getting too long, so I’ll close for now and post about how to avoid choosing anger on another day. Let me just say, we are the only ones who get to choose our emotions. No one else can make that choice for us. They may know how to push our buttons, but we have to give them the remote control.
So for now, Enjoy always, T