Overreacting

Synopsis: Overreacting — we get ourselves into trouble when we go into judgement, and miss how our reaction has nothing to do with the situation in front of us.

Of Wayne’s many books, the one closest to today’s topic is: This Endless Moment
overreacting

OK, so last week I was writing the article on Saturday, while sitting at the Rancho (covered area with tables) at our condo complex.

I wasn’t really meaning to link these articles, but here we go.

Some of my blog readers love it when I write about when I screw up, and not being shy about my ability to still do so, let me tell you what happened, then give you a look at my excuses, and then, well, I’ll unpack what would have been a better approach.

OK, so Darbella and I were sitting there, computers in front of us, working. A guy we know popped in — he’s part of the team that we rent from. We like him, hadn’t seen him in months. Had a chat. He mentioned that friends of his were staying at the complex.

He left to talk to his friends. Moments later, he returned, friends in tow. The pool is right next to the rancho. The 3‑year-old hops into the pool, followed by the mom. The dad says, “I’ll get my music can.”

Hmm.

Dar exits to grab us some lunch, the guy we know sits with his feet in the pool, and the other guy sets a beatbox or something down next to pool. Hits play.

Noise! Loud, loud noise! The three adults start shouting over it, carrying on a conversation over the music. A moment later, mom swims over and downs the volume a tad. Shouting! Continues!

My brain hurts. I’m having trouble writing. I start seething inside. Briefly consider getting my external speaker and blasting Barry Manilow or something back at them.

I then hear the noise-maker’s Southern accent, and I’m off to the internal races, doing a screed about Ugly Americans.

The next atrocious song comes on, along with a bump in volume.

I’ve had it. So, get this: I pull the power cord from my computer, pick it up, and march off toward my condo. Dar’s heading my way with a tray of food. I say, (loudly) “That music is too damn loud, so let’s go inside.” Takes us another trip to get the rest of our stuff.

Guy with the loud music says: “Is my music too loud for you, SIR? I could turn it down.”

Me: “Don’t bother now.”

Away I stomp.

Finish the article. You know. The one titled “It’s ALL Perspective.”

An hour later, after a swim, I blow out my back removing my swim suit.

Nice, huh?

Here are my excuses:

  1. He’s American
  2. he has no situational awareness (“I’d never do something like that!”)
  3. I’m not in a relationship with the guy, so using the communication model was not necessary.
  4. I’m a much better/more considerate person then he.
  5. I have a right to be pissed off.

And on and on.

I have a friend here who is also a chiropractor, and who does an interesting form of kinesiology — an approach that gets to the heart of the matter. Literally. I went to see him yesterday, still nursing my back.

One thing he said: “Or, you could have just asked him to lower the volume. That’s a win / win, not a win / lose.”

Here’s the scoop:

grumpy
Grumpy much?

As I’ve written about ad nauseam, I spent the first 32 years of my life reacting out of anger and arrogance. I think of that guy — that side of me — as my mouthy 7 year old. He is background, and has been for decades. He never comes out with Dar; in fact, he hasn’t run my mouth since 1986.

But.

Remember the Ben Wong line: “Change isn’t possible, but choice always is”?

He’s still in there.

He was running my anger party. He was nattering in my head as I sat at the rancho. He was the one that got me to march off like a deranged martyr.

Still there.

The only good news is that I didn’t let him run my mouth at the guy.

So, he boiled and burbled internally, and my back reacted by clunking right out.

My perspective did me in. My anger did me in. My “evil twin” did me in.

In other words, I did me in.

Yikes.

So, I’ve been reflecting ever since, with Dar, with my friend Sheel, with myself. Reflecting on how I treat myself, especially in those (fortunately rare) moments when I make myself hard-done-by. How my games hurt me.

How my evil twin is still there, and will always be there, and how I will now work with him even more. Being clear with him, while also listening to his immature perspective.

What could I have done differently?

  • I could have asked the guy to turn down the music.
  • I could have stopped myself from lumping him into a category.
  • I could have put the article on hold for a few minutes, then finished.
  • I could have gone into our condo and pounded the mattress, just to get the anger out safely.
  • I could have talked it through (with Dar) more thoroughly at the time, not just griped and complained.

I likely, doing any of that, could have saved myself the backache.

The game is ongoing, and there are always and ever things we can set ourselves off over. It’s not the job of the world to “behave” — to not set us off (it doesn’t… we set us off.)

It’s our job to see how we go off the rails, and to catch ourselves, and to come up with a way to bring ourselves under our own control.

Every time.


About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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