I don’t believe for a moment that six months ago any of you were just hoping that a virus would spread around the world creating a pandemic. Yet, here we are. You can respond with calmness and kindness or anger and fear – the choice is yours to make.
Beyond Our Control
Although our current world situation may be one of the most significant events of our lifetime, many things happen during our lifetime where we have little or no control over the event. If you think back over the years, you can probably identify countless times you encountered things in life where you didn’t control what was happening.
A simple example of events we can’t control is traffic. Perhaps you checked traffic before you left for a meeting and the maps showed “green” along your path. After you venture out, an accident occurs ahead of you on the highway and suddenly all the traffic stops. Now, you are in a situation where you are likely going to be late for your meeting. Still, you have a choice in how you react.
Within Our Control
In this situation, you can choose to calmly wait while trying to move to the right lane so that you can exit the highway. Then when in a safe location you can find another route and alert the party you are meeting that you will be late due to traffic. On the other hand, you can choose to get angry, yell at other drivers, honk, and attempt to move ahead. The first case is a rational response and gets you to your meeting with less stress. The second reaction only adds more stress.
Sometimes something happens so quickly and catches us in a vulnerable state. In these cases, most people simply react with emotion as they attempt to process the situation. However, after the initial reaction, they still have the opportunity to step back and respond to the situation in a calm manner.
The amount of time between the initial reaction and a more calm response normally ranges from a few second to days depending on the severity of the situation. For instance, if you learn that you didn’t get the promotion that you were sure was coming your way, it would be natural if you were upset, angry, or frustrated. However, if you are still angry about the loss of the promotion a year later, you are choosing to continue your reaction.
In this example, once you get over the initial shock of the thing that has disrupted your life or your plans, you get to choose your next steps. You can choose to be angry for an eternity or you can take actions that may help you in getting a promotion the next time.
Again, the latter results in less stress and getting you where you want to be while continuing to react keeps you stuck.
Sometimes yelling at someone and expressing your emotion will get you what you want in life. However, that is generally not the case. And, it always comes with additional stress and drain on your mental and physical health. Remember . . . the choice is yours!