What a summer it has been here in Connecticut! From soggy, rainy, moldy, humid ick to hot, dry, record-setting and sweltering, we sure are being tested by Mother Nature.
Oftentimes when we feel like we are being tested or punished or wronged, we like to react with equal force to whatever is irritating us. Since we cannot effectively yell at Mother Nature (well, one can but it might not get you much satisfaction), we often turn to those around us when we lash out. It’s not about them, but they’re close and convenient.
We can always recognize when someone is “acting out” versus being genuinely upset with us by our initial reaction to the barrage. If you are left feeling bewildered and assaulted, then it’s not about you. If guilt or defensiveness rise up, then it might have something to do with you.
In either instance, though, the best recommendation is always to slow things down. When reactions start feeling pressured or quick, there is usually more to the story and to make sure that there’s time and space to separate things out, slowing things down is essential. Unfortunately, typically in these interactions, slowing anything down is the exact opposite of our instinct. We want to get in and clarify or justify asap to make the pain of the barrage end. But that just leads to more barrage and extending the pain.
I know it seems contradictory, that if one wants something to end we need to slow things down versus speeding them up. Go test it yourself. Better yet, watch someone else play this cycle out. (It’s easier to stay emotionally detached if it’s not you in the mix.) The supermarket or mall is a great place to see this in action. Who wants to go where, times to meet or leave, who is really in charge, and what hidden agendas crop up in the interactions and machinations of negotiations.
If this feels too familiar, then it might be time to slow things down, take a step back, and clarify just what this one interaction is about.