Yesterday I visited my favorite bakery. The counters there, much like the counters everywhere, extend far above my head as I only stand at 4’5, so it’s hard for people to spot me unless they see me come through the door. I was looking at items and was next in line when all of a sudden the woman behind me started to order. She clearly did not recognize I was an adult, and the woman behind the counter hadn’t seen me.
When I was in high school and college especially, these kinds of events used to infuriate me. I would sometimes simply step out of line and leave without ordering anything. I would go home and cry because I felt so badly that I was overlooked. Nowadays, I simply raise my voice and say, “Um, I was ahead of you in line.” It seems to work.
Which strategy do you suppose works out better for me if I want a cupcake? Getting angry, maybe being rude to people, leaving altogether, or simply announcing my presence and completing the purchase? If you guessed choice B, you are spot on. I still find these scenarios to be extremely frustrating, moreso because of people in line than because of people behind the tall counter. But I have learned to be frustrated for a few seconds and then keep moving.
I believe everybody has triggers like this that cause frustration. You could be in the best mood and someone acts in a certain way or says something and you find yourself flying off the handle, right? What you must think about in regards to your hot buttons (because if we think about it we all know what gets us red-faced with anger) is what you accomplish by getting angry and what you could accomplish by moving on.
Let me give you another example. I run a page on Facebook that is dedicated to educating people about why many Little People find the word “midget” offensive. Someone on there said something very interesting one day. They said, “When someone teases you, don’t get mad. Educate.” This is an instance where again you have two possible actions (and this goes for anyone that gets teased about anything). You can get angry or upset or you can try to use the opportunity to raise awareness about why what the person is doing is wrong. Barring that, you can take the opportunity to educate yourself – teach yourself that when someone is rude, insensitive, or mean, it is about them and not about you. It sounds trite and a bit cliché, but some clichés are around because they’re true.
Consider too the risks you take if you get mad instead of choosing to move on. For example, let’s say bad driving is one of your hot button issues. If you suffer from road rage, you can actually end up causing an accident yourself. Your flustering and bustering can distract you from what’s actually happening on the road. That’s not a very good trade-off, and I guarantee you that no matter how mad you get, that person will always be a bad driver. Your fingers, your horn, and their ability to read lips will not affect their overall driving philosophy.
So what are your hot button issues? How would it benefit you if you started to move on instead of investing a lot of time in getting angry or hurt or upset? Let’s talk about it!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sully_aka__wstera2/1407282637/ via Creative Commons