Last weekend I had the pleasure of having a day at home alone. It was about 4 – 5 hrs of me time. I got so much accomplished it was great and thoroughly enjoyed my time. I put on some music, and got to work, taking breaks as I felt, checking in on my wonderful WordPress family, and was shocked at just how productive I am when left alone to do it. I finally have no boxes in my hallway or living room. I rearranged some of the kitchen cabinets (this will assuredly be done at least 2 more times). I put up pictures on the walls. Arranged things on my bookshelves, swept, did dishes, and laundry.
Just as I was wrapping things up, my music list was finished, book in hand, I went to chill on the couch for a bit in my nice clean living room, and I heard a very frazzled neighbour screeching at her child. It made me cringe. She sounded like some sort of horrible bitch-beast. I tried not to judge, sure she was at her wits end, she definitely sounded like it at any rate. But it struck a chord with me. It just sounded so very awful. I felt sad for her child, I felt sad for her. And then a horrible thought hit me!!! “Do I sound like that!?” “Oh God please, I hope I don’t sound like that!” and the resounding answer was yes, some days I most certainly do! I felt ashamed. I felt guilty. I felt dirty. I felt like a terrible parent.
So how do I tame the beast within. It’s those days when you don’t even realize you are feeling edgy and you get asked one too many ridiculous questions, or you’re hungry and want to make dinner and you have had to ask for the 6th + time why the dishes have not been done yet, and the response is “I said I’d do them, sheesh!”… and the beast comes roaring out, with all its venom. And in mid roar you realize what is happening but it’s too late you are in the middle of screaming and yelling and behaving horribly. IT.SUCKS.BIG.TIME!!!
So how does one go about overcoming the anger? How does one become aware when they are about to hit the boiling point and how do you go about stopping it before it happens to boil over? How do we tame the beast?
Well according to the Orange Rhino Challenge one way is preventative action. OK back up… the Orange Rhino challenge WTF is that? It is a challenge to stop yelling, primarily geared at parents with young children, but it can work for anyone – to go all the way you attempt to do a 365 day no yelling challenge (if you blow it you start again at day 1) – but you can do any length you want 1 week, 30 days, 6 months, whatever. Anyways, apparently a good starting place for preventing visits from the icky, screechy, beast is identifying triggers. For example are you yelling because some-one has upset you or because they did it while you were hungry? Is it the upset or the hunger that is the real issue? Or maybe your back hurts, or you’re overtired, or you are stressed because you trying to do your taxes, making dinner, preparing your budget, or perhaps you are frustrated because you feel you are not being listened to, or taken seriously, whatever…. What is the REAL reason you are screaming like an idiot? (and does screaming like that really help in getting some-one to take you seriously? Just asking…) Now address that reason. Voila step one – we have identified the trigger(s)! Next is learning to take a step back before you lose your cool, not 10 minutes into it. To recognize it before it hits. Easier said than done somedays… but like most things it takes practice. Once you learn to recognize it the third step is finding other ways to deal with the problem. How can I get my point across without sounding awful? How can I get the kids to do their chores, without yelling because I already asked 20 times? How do I get the husband/wife to actually hear me? How do I express that I am ticked off in a calm and rational manner? Well that is the question now isn’t it?
So got any suggestions? Feel free to write ’em down for me… this seems to be a battle I win some days and lose others…