How To Regain Control of Yourself in An Argument
I could feel the anger taking over my body.
It was like a furnace. Once you turned it on, it was ready to burn. My face felt flushed and my fists balled up reactively, ready to strike at any moment. It took me a minute to find my voice, but once I did, molten lava spewed out, burning all caught in the crossfire. I felt like Black Mamba in Kill Bill when she went apeshit.
And then it happened.
It happened so fast that I almost missed it -- a space between the stream of fiery thoughts bombarding my brain -- a millisecond of silence. It was enough to make me pause. That was all it took.
I walked away. I went into my room and shut the door. Sat cross legged on the floor. Closed my eyes. I could feel the heat of my anger beckoning me back into the self-righteous fire.
Tears began to stream down my face. Another one bites the dust. I had been given an opportunity to be the best version of myself and I had failed. Again.
“You got taken out by your anger yet again. You’re such a fraud. Life coach, my ass. You can’t even control your own anger. If people were to see you now, they’d clutch their pearls, leave and never come back.” The voice of my inner critic once again reminded me of every single moment I’d not lived up to my higher self, including and especially this one.
The truth of the matter is I am very imperfect.
There’s a big misconception that self-help teachers, life coaches, yoga teachers, etc. have all of their shit figured out. Nothing is farther from the truth. Most of us started down this path because we ourselves were seeking something to help us with our own problems. We then came to a point where we wanted to share what we had learned along the way with those who came after us. This doesn’t mean we have reached enlightenment and never have bad days.
Nah, boo. We still have days where shit hits the roof, like my grandma says.
However, bad days are blessings in disguise. They are opportunities for us to respond to life and to others in a new way. I love the Deepak Chopra quote that says, “Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”
The story ends with me coming back to myself. I was able to regain my composure, assess the situation, take ownership of and apologize for my actions, and allow love to step in and take over.
Now I'm gonna share with you my five steps for regaining control over yourself in an argument:
Step One: Catch yourself before you go down the rabbit hole of bad habits.
When it comes to changing a behavior, you have a very powerful tool at your disposal: your self-awareness. You know yourself better than anyone else in the world. Use this to your advantage. You know what words, situations, people trigger you into bad habits, thinking, and actions. Either avoid these things OR, if you absolutely can’t, prepare yourself mentally for the interaction with meditation, affirmations, and visualization exercises.
The reality is that it may be too late and you may catch yourself already in the act. You’re human. Once you become aware of yourself going farther down the rabbit hole of nastiness, stop yourself. Just because you started down that road does NOT mean that you can’t turn back around and head in a new direction.
Consider establishing a code word beforehand with your loved ones and/or colleagues. Use this code word when you feel yourself going down a road you know you don't want to go down. This lets them know that you need time to get yourself together before engaging in a productive conversation.
Step Two: Leave the situation, if you are able to.
If you’re able to, leave the situation. Go into another room, even the bathroom if you must. Take a walk outside. If you're driving, pull over. If you’re not able to leave the area, find the nearest place to sit down (either on the floor or in a chair) and close your eyes. It’s time to hug into yourself.
*I’ll be honest. I struggle with this one. A lot. Everything in me wants to hash out the situation right then and there. I’m one of those people that likes to figure everything out so we can get back to our best selves ASAP. However, I have to admit that sometimes that’s the worst thing to do because it pours gas on the fire. I’m still working on this one.
Step Three: Feel your feelings.
Imagine yourself surrounded by a soundproof cocoon. You are safe to feel your feelings. Cry if you need to. Do jumping jacks or push-ups to use up the extra energy shooting thru your body. Let the energy run thru you for 90 seconds. Notice where the emotion lives in your body. What does it physically feel like? Remember that you’ve got to feel to heal.
Step Four: Come back to yourself.
Once you have felt your feelings, it feels like you’ve just had a good workout. This is where you start the journey back to yourself. Bring your focus to your breath. Notice how it moves thru your body -- the rise/fall of your chest and the expansion/contraction of your belly. Any time a thought comes into your head and tries to pull you out the moment, simply bring your focus back to your breath. This may mean you have to bring your focus back a million times. That is a-okay. Do this for as long as you need to.
Step Five: Let your higher self take over.
The key is to feel your feelings and let them go. Once you’ve done so and you’ve re-set yourself, you can then respond to the situation from your higher self.
Decide if you need more time to address the experience with the person involved. Make sure to set a time to discuss, though. The reason being that it becomes easy to just sweep stuff under the rug and then, over time, it just boils up again and bursts into flames.
Life is all about having uncomfortable conversations -- holding people accountable for their actions and also taking ownership of your own. Most of us don’t want to deal with this stuff.
However, it’s part of being an adult. The need for these types of conversations never goes away and it never gets easier. That’s why it’s so important to address these moments from your higher self -- the you that desires the highest good for all involved.
One of the things that is absolutely needed in any situation is forgiveness.
Forgive yourself for not being the best version of yourself. You are doing the best you can. The main thing is you caught yourself before things got too crazy. You will fall down many times during your life. Forgive yourself and get back up.
Forgive the other person, too. Can you remember that this person is also a child of God? They are doing the best they can with what they’ve got and with where they are on their own spiritual path.
Forgiveness does not mean you’re condoning the behavior (either theirs or yours). It means that you are not going to let the experience rule your mind or wreak havoc on your precious life.
Honey Bunny, you don’t have to accept a challenge just because it’s issued. You don’t have to fight just because another person wants to. You don’t have to take on another person’s baggage just because they are trying to transfer their energy to you. You are no one’s emotional trash can.
Also, consider being open to the other person’s point of view. True spiritual growth can be measured by your willingness to imagine what it feels like to walk in someone else’s shoes. This is an opportunity for you to cultivate compassion.
Another thing I struggle with is asking myself, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” There’s so many different versions of truth, depending on who you’re talking to. If the topic isn’t gonna matter in 5 years, it may not be worth the explosion it’s causing in the present.
In any given situation, the only variable you can fully control is yourself. You owe it to yourself to change thought patterns and behaviors that do not serve your highest good. It takes practice, commitment, forgiveness, and resiliency.
Even on the days you fail and give into your old ways, you are still deserving of a new way of being and unconditional love. Forgive yourself. Do your best to make it right. Keep on going. You got this, boo!
I’m cheering for you. Like you’re pioneering the future.
From the Front Row,