Last week I exploded a perfectly decent working relationship with a tradesman who has done regular, high-quality work on our units at Gate Farm. I stupidly let my emotions get the better of me and reacted to his continual lateness for appointments. Speaking in the heat of the moment I caused a chain of events that culminated in him downing tools and walking out. I don’t imagine he will work for us again.
Stupid of me? Yes! Inconvenient and annoying? Yes! An opportunity for me to learn a lesson. I hope so!
This isn’t the first time that I have let my emotions get the better of me. I have run into similar problems with my staff, with event organisers and with suppliers. I can react in a very emotional way in certain circumstances. It almost always ends badly for me.
Often, I’m reacting to something unrelated that’s going on, and it’s not even necessarily the fault of the person on the receiving end of my anger. Speaking in the heat of the moment, raising my voice, venting my anger and frustration almost always leads to me saying things I regret afterwards.
It never achieves the outcome I desire and yet I persist with it! Why don’t I learn to control my emotions better?
Have you experienced this feeling too? Are you raising your voice, speaking your mind in the heat of the moment, reacting in an emotionally charged way? Is it getting you into trouble like me? Are you damaging relationships at home and work as a result?
I have been thinking about how to control my emotions better in these situations. If I stop myself reacting immediately then, I have time to cool down a notch, I then think more clearly and make better decisions. I’m more able to see the situation from the other person’s point of view, and consequently, I’m more able to react with sympathy and compassion rather than anger and frustration.
One method I’m employing is not replying with an instant text message. When I communicate by text, it seems very easy for words to be either taken out of context or to appear much harsher than I had intended them to be.
Another method I’m employing is to delay my reply. This action is much harder for me to do. But I know it’s the way forward. The higher my emotions, the stronger my reaction, the more I feel provoked and justified the more likely I am to say something I regret.
During these highly charged moments, I must NOT react. It is at these times that I must pause for thought, wait a few hours, maybe even until tomorrow. Once I have had time to calm down, my reaction will be more thoughtful and less personal, and much more likely to get the outcome I want. I cannot say it is easy. Knowing what I should do, is quite different from doing it in the heat of the moment.
I keep trying to remind myself that people are people, they have there own things going on, their own problems and difficulties. They don’t set out to annoy and frustrate me in the same way that I don’t set out to be rude and unpleasant to them. So, if I can react with compassion, sympathy and understanding, then I am much more likely to get the response and outcome that I desire.
Life is a tough journey that involves daily learning and growth. I look in the mirror and remind myself that I reap what I sow.
Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.