Monday, October 8, 2012

You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry

The Incredible Sarihulk by Eneas, cc license
Lately, I’ve struggled with being gentle. There have been several instances in the past few weeks where I just lost it. My feelings of frustration and anger bubbled over and I lashed out at the nearest bystander. I really hate when that happens. I feel like the Hulk, as if this ugly alter ego has taken over my body and I can’t get back control. Worse than feeling out of control, I hate the hurt I cause.

I know that it has a lot to do with current levels of stress and demand. I have a lot on my plate, right now, and I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should. I can feel my reserves drying up and I know that when I’m just trying to get through the day that the smallest irritation will trigger a major negative response on my part.

It’s not okay and, more importantly, it doesn’t have to be this way. I know that there are things I can do, small changes I can make, so that I don’t become so depleted and, if I do, my natural reaction is not so Hulk-like.

So! I’d like to devote the next several weeks to exploring ways to remain gentle, even in the most trying circumstances, without compromising honesty (because bottling stuff up and allowing it to fester is not honest, nor gentle). Are you with me? Let’s do this.

As always, when I set out to make meaningful change, I first want to make an honest assessment of my current situation. I offer a few questions for reflection:

  1. When you think about the last several times you were your least-gentle self, what was going on? Where were you? What time of day was it? Who were you with?
  2. How were you feeling, physically (tired, hungry, etc.) and emotionally (overwhelmed, anxious, etc.)? What words would you use to describe yourself at those times?
  3. Attending to the patterns that emerge from your reflections, how would you finish the sentence: “I am at my least gentle when _______.”

Here’s how I would answer the last question: I am at my least gentle when I am tired, I feel there are too many things I have to complete in a limited amount of time, and I don’t feel like I have the support I need.

How about you?

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  1. Mary, I haven't looked at your blog in a while and it looks so professional. I'm so impressed!
    Great issue - when are we at are least gentle. I'm actually think 'least gentle' is probably too gentle a phrasing for what I'm like when I'm stressed. Mostly for me, it's about not being able attending to my house and my kids because of the whirling craziness of life. E.g. I'm trying to dress and feed kids, blowdry my hair, pack lunches and get out the door and feel like no one is helping me do that. Okay, let's be honest, I feel like my husband isn't helping me do that. Which isn't fair, because he really tries to be helpful. Mostly. It's about a little prior planning for me. And some 'gentle' discussion with my husband about what we need to do to get out the door. But that just doesn't always happen.

  2. Change a few details and names and you could be describing a scene from my house. :) In fact, I'm guessing you just described a scene occurring in many houses. There must be a better way!!

    (And thank you so much, Jul!)