If you asked people that know me to describe my personality, it’s likely that the words, chill, easy-going, and calm would come into play. But what people who haven’t known me for many years don’t realize is that I wasn’t always so zen. When I was younger, I was prone to big fights with my parents, dramatic tantrums because I couldn’t find the right outfit, and had a healthy bit of road rage.
You’d never guess it from how little my temper flares now.
Sure, long lines at the store, and people walking slow up the subway stairs get on my nerves. But the number of times I actually get mad enough to blow up? They are few and far between.
When I am stuck in a crowd, or about to snap at someone for something silly, I try to remember to ask myself these 5 questions.
- Will yelling about this make anything about this situation better 10 minutes from now?
- Was it really this person’s intention to make me feel hurt/offended/angry/upset?
- Or is there something going on in her day that might make her a little more concerned with herself than with how she’s making other people feel?
- Is it ACTUALLY the slow delivery guy that’s made me so upset, or is something else going on that’s making me a little more on edge?
- So I’m going to get there an hour later. Is a 60 minute difference worth having a big fight?
Sometimes a well-placed stern-talking-to can make a world of difference, and I definitely don’t advise sweeping major problems under the rug.
But in that moment when I’m about to flip out, thinking about the other person usually helps to calm me down. Generally, everyone is doing the best that they can, “and best can vary a lot from person to person every day.” And everything isn’t about you – people have their own *ish going on. You might just be a casualty of their bad day. Taking the actions of others with a grain of salt can really help.