In doing some research for a class I’m teaching tomorrow evening on anger and how to better work with it, from low level on up, I found a fascinating concept that got my head nodding in agreement, maybe it will yours as well.
Think of a young child, maybe a toddler. They can have tantrums, they can throw things, refuse to eat what you just made and overall, as adults, we have the tendency to initially think "Awww, poor baby, wonder what's up?", not automatically “popping off” but instead, beginning to think things like, “Oh boy, I knew missing that nap would come back to haunt me, she’s tired.” Or we know lunch is running late and they're hungry or have been picked on all day by their older sibling, no wonder they are “out of sorts.”
Here we give the kiddo the “grace of space.” The ability for you as their caregiver in that moment to choose to understand vs. get mad and yes, I’m a parent, we too can be tired, hungry or worn down by the day and lose it but do you get my drift? Overall we try to understand where the upset is coming from.
Fast-forward to adulthood and when people “do things to us” we are very quick to take it personally. “He’s out to get me.” You think about the co-worker in your department. “She meant to do that!” You think about the gal who just cut you off and on and on and on. We do this with people we know as well as complete strangers and I have to ask, why?
Why can’t we push our egos aside when we begin to feel agitated, take a breath and give THEM the “grace of space?” Maybe they’re tired, (that’s an easy one to surmise in our society today) maybe they’re hungry, how about stressed-out because of something going on at the office or heartbroken because they’re having problems with their partner? Can you see? We as adults have considerably more opportunities to be caught up “in our heads”, leading to that thinking and feeling resulting in behaviors that are less than becoming.
Personally, I don’t believe I choose to live life in a passive way these days, I choose to live life in a peaceful way and part of that peace derives from looking at people as flawed human beings who more often than not have way too much on their plates and even more on their minds. I try to stay steady in the way I like to live and be, not allowing others and their issues to keep “churning up” the waters of my little pond.
We are too quick to take too many things personally these days. The next time someone upsets you, I invite you to stop, for minutes would be better than moments, but stop so you can calm down a bit. Take a few deep breaths, especially in through the nose and out through the mouth. Then refuse to take what they did personally, try to consider (especially if you know them well) what might be going on in THEIR life that might cause them to behave this way and if you don’t know them at all, assume there’s something going on with them too vs. allowing your ego to get back on its “high horse” so you can become self-righteous again.
Seeing one another as the flawed, emotionally-driven beings we are is one of the most peace-giving practices I have picked up over the past 2 years. Simply occupy the space of a kind, compassionate person and move on. If there's something to legitimately be done, do it, if there's not, let it go.
It begins with each one of us choosing to make the world a better place one “grace giving interaction” after another. Can you even imagine the ramifications of all of us doing this?
It's hard to fathom that much peace in our world.
But I sure like to try. <3