So, what did you answer to the last post? Are you the type of character to fight back, speak up and stand your ground? Or are you more likely to stay silent, vibrating with the anger trapped inside? Or are you one of the lucky few who’s able to see the funny side; turning adversity into opportunity?
In this situation I actually did 5). I was able to extract myself from the pain and move into a new space. At times I can find humour in hardship; but it’s by no means every time and it’s definitely (and unfortunately) an expendable resource of light-heartedness.
What’s the best response?
Well, the first thing to note is that you can’t change other people’s behaviour very easily. But you can however, change yours. Read on to understand the personal benefits or risks of each option:
- Is likely to lead to a fight. No good will come from this, even though it’s very tempting.
- Is likely to eat you up from the inside. Anger with no release can be harmful and damaging.
- As with 1) is likely to lead to a fight and probably won’t end well.
- Is very brave and probably one of the most positive responses; but also the hardest.
- Is an easier way to take yourself safely out of the situation without a confrontation.
- Is positive, constructive, hard to achieve but will give you the best benefits health-wise.
As you can see, the most positive outcomes arrive when you focus on seeing the funny side, removing yourself from the situation or confronting it head-on to release the emotion.
Any time you bottle up anger, or vent it through violence, you tend to feel worse not better. Your emotions get stronger, your blood boils ever hotter, and you’re doing your heart no good at all.
The magic solution:
Taking control of your own emotional reactions can prevent all sorts of negative outcomes. And ensure that you can bring yourself round to a positive state; rather than dwelling in the doldrums.
The Psychologist Albert Ellis was the first to write about cognitive behavioural therapy (he called it RET; Rational Emotive Therapy). Specifically, he described the cognitive (thinking) process of A-B-C:
Adversity leads to Belief leads to Consequences
On the train, I was met with adversity. If my interpretation and belief was that ‘the world is against me, I always suffer and there are no good things about my job because I have to undertake this awful commute to get there’... I’ve jumped into some pretty saddening consequences.
If, on the other hand, I’m able to interpret the situation as a one-off, that is ‘out of my control and even though it’s painful for a while it won’t last, so it’s definitely endurable’, then the impact on my own feelings will be significantly different... I’ll be feeling pretty positive about the consequences.
When ADVERSITY happens, you can adjust your BELIEFS about the situation to take complete responsibility for the CONSEQUENCES that you feel as a result; and keep it positive.
Any time a colleague, partner or friend speaks to you in a way you don’t agree with, you’ve got a choice to make:
- By responding with blame or calling yourself the victim, you’ll feel terrible for some time.
- On the other hand, by responding with a laugh and acknowledging that they’ve got their reasons for behaving the way they did, you can adopt a curious mindset to stay in control, remain feeling positive and even want to find out more about where they’re coming from.
So there’s no excuse any more for blaming someone for how you’re feeling. Sorry.
Somebody might hurt you, act in a terrible, annoying or completely bizarre way, but that’s their behaviour. The ACT is indisputable. But how you FEEL as a result of it is 100% within your control.
Hard to grasp? Yes. Magic? Absolutely. Easy to do? Not at all.
Try it out. Report back. Try again and note the differences.
Good luck and keep watching.