Have you ever had a galvanizing event happen in your life? It’s usually an event that makes a huge impression, be it positive or negative, that signals it’s time for a change or a shift in thinking. Often times when I hear people talking about a galvanizing event, it’s a negative occurrence: the final straw in a relationship, in a job, personal health and habits, home organization, etc. It’s the kind of event that makes you say, “Oh, things must be different from this moment forward, and I’m going to see to it without hesitation.” You feel hardened and set in a direction or in your resolve. You are ready to make the change happen no matter what.
I’ve had a couple events like that happen to me over the past few months, but this weekend was a stunner. Without going into detail in order to protect the innocent, I will say that I am the Queen of Over-Reaction. And, I’m so very ready to give up my crown.
Yesterday, I allowed myself to go in to such a fierce battle-mode because of some hurt feelings I had, you’d have thought someone was trying to kill me, my family, and my pets. If I had seen another person acting the way I did yesterday, I’d have thought surely she was off her medication. I am shaken by my own behavior. Shaken. Embarrassed. Galvanized. This has got to change and NOW.
I’m not an angry person. It’s not part of my nature. It is however, a habit. A bad, lazy habit. It’s the result of my lack of explicit development in finding my own voice in the midst of conflict or pain. I actually took on someone else’s voice long ago when dealing with pain or conflict, and haven’t found it necessary to give it up until now. It’s fairly safe to say we’ve all probably done this at some point in our lives – continuing in a bad habit that consists of learned behavior; one we’ve not given up even when we’ve found that it’s not an effective way of conducting ourselves. My own voice is not an angry one, but I’ve learned an angry voice that I’m ready to give up.
My tendency: If I’m hurt, I get angry. This, I now know, is an over-reaction as well as an inaccurate response. If I’m hurt, I don’t have to automatically go into defense mode where I’m prepared to obliterate anyone who looks at me wrong with a bazooka. Being hurt should look different than being angry. Getting angry and lashing out actually compounds my initial issue (hurt) with now having to do damage control clean-up duty. Invariably, whatever it was I had hurt feelings about winds up seeming less valid to the one who did the hurting as now they are trying to deal with the bazooka-imposed flesh wound I dealt them in return. Nobody wins. Everyone’s upset. And now it’s on me.
What I’ve realized this weekend is that I need to find my own voice when I’m feeling and expressing a negative emotion. The time for borrowing someone else’s voice is done. In recognizing this, I’m seeing that my response to anything needs to be authentically me. It needs to make sense with who I am, my personality. For example, I’m a person who appreciates humor. My voice, my reaction, even in emotional hurt or pain, could easily be infused with humor – I’m a big enough girl to do that, I think. What could I possibly be so hurt about that I couldn’t make an attempt disarm someone (who probably didn’t mean to hurt me in the first place) or the situation itself with a little levity?
Even though this process of looking at such a glaring fault of mine is painful and embarrassing, I’m encouraged by the fact that I actually get to figure out and use my own voice from here on out. I can put off one behavior, one voice, and adopt the one that is authentically mine in its place.
One purpose of my blog is to share with the world (or nobody at all) my journey into a happier, more authentically enjoyed life. Being a happier person entails looking at the dark spots in my life, shining some light on them, and then doing the work it takes to change any ineffective or negative patterns. Man, is this one ugly. El Jefe told me this weekend that when we are truly looking at ourselves and our behavior with the attitude of needing/wanting to change, sometimes things get a bit worse before they get better. What a great insight, even though the thought of things getting worse first scares me a bit. But I’m ready for the change. I’m galvanized.