When it comes to level headed and mild tempered, that’d be me. Though I can sometimes be dramatic for effects, I very rarely experience or exhibit moments of shear anger. Frustration? Yes. Impatience? Often. Anger? Not so much. In fact, I can recall almost every moment in my life that I’ve been “blood boiling” angry. Unfortunately, the most recent occurrence being last week.
It was a typical day of me trying to move the needle on projects. I had reached out to a few folks inquiring about information and had been successful, so no biggie. Then the instant message came. Without going into details, the premise was that I would not be getting the information that I requested and that, furthermore, I didn’t have the authority to request it.
“Wait, what?” I did a double take and quickly went from 0 to 10.
I immediately ended the conversation with this person with, “Ok.” If you know anything about women, then you know that “Ok” isn’t remotely close to being ok. It was a “let me just end this conversation with you before I say the wrong thing” ok.
At this point, I could feel my blood boiling— literally. I was having internal talks of “How dare they?” and “Who do they think they are?” Every second I sat at my desk, I could feel the anger rising even more. I had to do something.
As I sat, on the verge of angry tears, the Holy Spirit told me to get up and walk. So, I reluctantly got up and walked outside and continued to the track that my office has outside.
After about 5 mins of walking, I had determined that I cooled down enough to return to my desk, but the Holy Spirit told me to keep going.
As I kept walking, I realized that I hadn’t quite cooled down as much as I thought. However, my internal conversation went from “wooosahhhh” to “What caused you to get to this point?” It was clear that I was upset, but what I couldn’t pinpoint was what got me there.
A button had obviously been hit. Something about the preceding conversation had triggered my anger emotion, but I didn’t know what. That was a problem. I had to figure out my pressure point, because there won’t always be a track to walk in order to cool down. So, I replayed the incident over and over and tried to evaluate which point of the conversation made me most upset. Was it the tone? Were there specific words used? Was it the medium in which it was communicated? What had me so hot??
I kept walking.
Because this emotion is an oddity for me, I racked my brain of all the times that I’ve ever been angry. It didn’t take long before I found the common denominator of these occurrences. I found my trigger.
By this time, I had walked a half mile or so and decided to head back to my desk. I had most definitely cooled down and had a new emotion of happiness because I understood the issue completely. It didn’t take away from my emotions from the prior incident, but it felt great to have such a revelation about myself.
So, what now?
Knowing my trigger is half the battle. Controlling my emotions is the other half. I had to ask myself what I would do if someone hits my trigger, but I have no outlet. What would I have done if this took place in a meeting and not across a computer screen? I can’t immediately answer that question, but I’m glad it happened in an environment that I could control; however, the next time might not be as convenient. So, what will I do?
Of course, I can’t predict if or when someone will push my trigger again, but just in case, I have established a thought process to handle it.
- Realize that you’re upset because they hit a trigger.
- Realize that it’s not that important. Let it go
Days later, I realized that this attempt to make me react irrationally was just the enemy upset about the blessings that I later received that week. I’d call it a last chance attempt.
Here’s the truth: The enemy knows your triggers and so should you. The next time you react in an extreme way to something, fall in sin, or repeat a bad habit, take a moment to evaluate the situation and others like it to determine the common thread. That commonality is your trigger. Know it and guard it to best that you’re able.
So, my colleague tried me, but thank God I know Jesus. :)