Cooling Off Period

29 May

My closest friends and husband will tell you that when it comes to temper, I have a short fuse. I tend to get worked up over small to medium sized frustrations that my husband can easily let roll off his back. Some people have higher tolerance levels than others and unfortunately I am not blessed with patience or a high tolerance level for crap. I have worked hard at times to suppress my temper to avoid boil-overs and cataclysmic fights (not really that tremendous, I just really wanted to use the word cataclysmic). I find that there are some situations that lend themselves to frustrated episodes better than others and it’s true for everyone that when we feel that our core values are being threatened we tend to react poorly. I also tend to become overwhelmingly frustrated when I feel that I am being attacked and when my life is not in sync. When I am not in sync with my emotional, physical, and psychological well being I tend to lose control of my frustration and say things I would otherwise have kept to myself.
Recently I have been dealing with a particularly difficult and frustrating issue that has caused me a great deal of stress. I have found myself greatly desiring to lash out at the people whom I am having problems with (really give them a piece of my mind), fortunately I have a sounding board (my husband and friends) who help to remind me that although I may feel justified in my rant, I am better than that behavior and are able to provide suggestions for a better course of action.
I have recently developed a quick set of questions that I plan to implement when I am feeling frustrated and wanting to say things that I will regret. These are influenced by my studies of counseling techniques and one on one session work. I hope that this will help you too when you feel overwhelmed by frustration.
Why am I so bothered by this?
1. What is the core fear that I am experiencing with this issue? You may be experiencing a basic fear at the core of the issue of rejection, failure, embarrassment, etc and although we often don’t realize the true cause of our action we typically act out of fear when dealing with frustration.
2. What is my core value or belief that this situation is in conflict with? A betrayal of our core values is usually at the center of most conflicts in our lives. If you think that honesty is paramount any time that you feel someone is being dishonest or if you are being dishonest you will feel conflict in your life.
3. What is my natural and innate first reaction to this issue? It is important to realize and acknowledge that you have an innate reaction to everything that is going on around you especially when dealing with frustrations so that you can make wise choices about your course of action.
4. What are some possible consequences of my innate reaction? Impulses tell us to do one thing or another but one key to successful relationships and interactions is to be sure to at least attempt to anticipate the other party’s reaction to your behavior. Often when I pause for a minute (in my frustration) I find that my first reaction, a reaction in anger, will not be well received and needs to be reworked.
5. What is the most healthy response I can have? I find that I typically know what the right thing to do is as long as I take the time to examine questions 1-4. Even if the answer is to contact a sounding board and get advise, I am now avoiding acting in anger and will be able to make a better choice.
6. Can I reconcile my frustrations through the corrective course of actions? Sometimes after going through questions 1-5 I discover that no, I am still going to be frustrated with this situation and my frustration will not be alleviated by my more mature behavior but by that time I realize also that it’s more beneficial to take a corrected course of action due to the consequences associated with acting out of anger.
It’s important for me to make sure that at this point I am making wiser choices in my life to build better relationships and interactions with others.

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