When a stranger in a supermarket randomly starts yelling at us, we know they have a problem that an emotional outburst just vented. Easy. But what happens when it is someone close to us? Not so easy, right? Especially when we have our own pile of frustrations that demand release. We can be like sticks of dynamite setting each other off.
And yet, engaging in an argument initiated by someone else is a choice. We can pause, take a breath and create distance with curiosity. A spoon left in a sink is a trigger to discharge toxic emotions. What is this person really upset about?
Self-awareness also increases peace. Do we recognize our own tension building up? How effective are our stress management practices? Angry outbursts and loud arguments may be powerful pressure relievers, but they only add more strain because they leave everyone nervously anticipating the next blow-out and destroy the harmony of our home, work and community spaces.
Ask: What emotional behavior did my parents model? Can I do better?
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