Ever want a second chance at your day? Ever feel like something went wrong, and now, the rest of your day is ruined because you’re grumpy and grouchy?
It was a small thing. I know. But when that dirty dish was set on the countertop, it was the tipping point. It had been a long day for me, of cleaning and cooking and picking up and tidying. And all I wanted to do was sit down and shop on Amazon for some Christmas presents.
So when that dirty bowl was placed on the counter instead of in the dishwasher, I switched from “patient-mama-at-her-wits-end” to “fuming-mama-with-an-eye-twitch.” Couldn’t they see the dishwasher was open with dirty dishes and that I was currently in the process of loading it? Couldn’t they infer that to save time and energy for everyone, placing that dirty bowl into the dishwasher rather than the countertop would be the ideal choice?
I muttered a complaint as I grabbed it and tossed it into the dishwasher myself.
And then I ensued to stomp around while I finished cleaning up. Everyone could see to stay out of my way. They could sense I wasn’t feeling pleasant. I was definitely sending out the “don’t mess with me right now” vibes. I was pretty upset.
When I’m upset, I don’t feel good. I feel off. Uncomfortable. Unhappy. And I don’t really like feeling that way.
PROBLEM: Sometimes we feel upset, irritable, inconvenienced, short-tempered, and angry.
So finally, when I had been miserable for long enough, I decided to stop being so proud and stubborn. I decided to do something about the situation.
I know I could have kindly addressed the issue with the person, but trying to do that while in my emotions does not allow me to use my logic brain. Trying to talk to someone while having a live, active emotion present within me would not produce the results I wanted—an honest conversation about that bowl on the countertop and how I would like it to go in the dishwasher.
But attempting to have this conversation without having worked through my emotions first, would most likely lead to the other person sensing tension from the emotion in me, misunderstandings would ensue, feelings on both sides would get hurt, etc. etc. etc.
I know that if I work through my emotions first, before having a conversation, I am in a much better place to talk kindly, express myself, and come to a compromise with that person.
So I decided to work through my emotions.
I recognized I was feeling the parent emotion of anger. And since I know anger comes when a boundary has been violated, I knew that’s what the deeper issue was. I also know that our emotions are messengers telling us to do something. So I decided to find out what my anger was telling me to do.
I took some deep breaths, then asked my inner self one of anger’s questions: “What boundary was violated?”
A small understanding enlightened me in that moment—it was my boundary of “respect from others for myself”–or “self-respect” for lack of a better word. I had felt completely disrespected and disregarded for all of my hard efforts. It was as if someone was saying, “It doesn’t matter that you’ve been in the kitchen all night cooking, and it doesn’t matter that you’ve spent every moment of this entire day cleaning up after people, you can still do more.”
Okay, do I honestly think that’s what was going through the guilty culprit’s mind??? No way! I’m sure it was an honest, innocent, “I’m done eating and I’m going off to play” moment. At least the dish wasn’t left on the table!
But in that moment that it was placed on the countertop, that perspective was not even a possibility to me. I was already in a swamp of “wo is me,” and that dirty bowl added to it.
So the realization of this respect boundary being violated was powerful. I then took the next step in working through my emotions and asked another question to discover anger’s action item for me: “What must be restored?”
I sensed the answer was that my respect bubble needed to be restored. Often, when I have to restore a bubble like this, I just visualize it, and then understanding and confirmation of the action follows. So I did it. I took a deep breath. I reassured myself that whether the owner of this bowl respected me or not, I still had worth. I still had value and significance . . . just because I exist. I am a daughter of God with infinite worth—even if someone hastily leaves a bowl on the countertop.
I definitely felt much better.
For only a moment.
And then I began feeling perturbed at this person. They should know better! I felt myself return to those frustrated thoughts of how inconvenienced I was.
Which was a sign there was more to do.
I checked in to my anger and asked again: “What must be restored?”
This time, the answer was different. My action item was this:
“Restore the love.”
I sighed. Yep. That made sense. I had had a long string of mean thoughts toward this person, and I was definitely not feeling the love right then.
But I was tired of feeling miserable, and I was ready to change. So I chose to act on my anger’s message to me. I took a deep breath in and visualized light and love flowing from my heart to this person’s heart. I could actually feel love in this moment. It was incredible.
And that’s when my anger left. It had done its job. It had given me the messages, it had told me what I needed to do. And since I acted on it, I was relieved of its duties (till next time!).
SOLUTION: Focus on your inner self, ask the questions to help you discover what your anger wants you to do, and then do it.
After working through all of this, I felt in a better place to address the situation with this person.
But you know what? Now that I had worked through my emotion and my logic brain was working again, my mind was clear, and I could see that it had been an honest mistake. I didn’t even feel the need to bring it up.
The evening went much smoother. I was able to enjoy every family member’s company. It was as if I had been given a second chance at the night. I’m glad I took it.
Do you need a second chance?
How has your day been? Are you feeling some form of anger too?
If you are, let’s work through it so you can have a second chance too!
First, put words to what you’re feeling. If it’s anything like inconvenienced, frustrated, ticked off, short, or perturbed, (use this free list here for more words), then you are feeling offspring of the parent emotion anger. So let’s just call it all “anger.”
Now, imagine gathering up the little particles of anger inside you and form them into a fuzzy ball.
Next, ask that fuzzy ball, “What kind of boundary has been violated?” Wait for the answer. Don’t assume anything—that will block answers! Just wait and listen. Sometimes it might come in words, sometimes images, and sometimes it will arrive as an enlightenment.
Did you get your answer?
Now, ask yourself the questions to help you discover anger’s message to you: “What do I need to do to restore my boundary?”, “What must be restored?” and “What must be protected?” These last two questions are from Karla McLaren’s book, The Language of Emotions, which I highly recommend!
Wait again for your answer. It might be something you physically need to do, or maybe it’s something you need to do energetically or emotionally, or even spiritually! Don’t limit the possibilities.
Wait for it. . . .
. . .
Wait for it. . . .
. . .
Did it come? Now do it! (Remember! The true to-do item that anger gives you will never hurt or injure another person. If that’s your answer, take a big breath, and go back through the steps.)
Do you feel better now? Or is there another message you need to discover?
Need help? Send me a message!
We can work through this together. No matter how big or trivial the reasons may seem for you to getting frustrated, irritated, or grouchy, your emotions are REAL, and they are here to tell you something you need to do to become a better person. Welcome that opportunity!