I’m astounded at how many times I’m out in public and hear someone yelling. Often it’s a romantic couple yelling at each other. People who have problems in a store yell at the cashier or manager. Motorists yell at other drivers. Parents yell at their children, who sometimes yell back at them. Most have something in common—frustration with something the person did or didn’t do and a need for resolution.
The trouble is, reacting with negative emotions rarely gets good resolution and can make the person less likely to play nicely with you.
Frustration leads us to behavior that can give you more reasons to be frustrated. If the super in your building doesn’t come to fix your leaky sink, it can make you angry. After all, you pay your rent and are entitled to service. You try asking again and get lip service but not actions. Each time you clean up water from your floor, you get angrier and more frustrated that you can’t get service. So you go look for the super, ready for a fight.
Letting your emotions explode into communication will get you much less than playing nicely.
Losing your cool with your super will probably just frustrate you more when you don’t get the leak fixed since your attitude annoyed him. Speaking in a rational, friendly and firm tone, indicating you may have to go higher, but don’t want to, can get him into your apartment. When I was a Doormat, I’d hold my feelings in and go along with most things, or just keep my mouth shut. But that didn’t mean it didn’t bother me. On the contrary, it bothered me on 2 levels: one that the person didn’t keep their word or acted poorly, and two, that I felt powerless to do something about it.
Feeling powerless can stoke frustration.
Eventually, my anger and frustration would reach a peak and I’d explode at someone, telling them what they’d done wrong and what I wanted. Yet that didn’t usually help. It wasn’t until I learned that addressing situations by speaking nicely, but firmly that I began to feel powerful. In my DoorMat days, my emotions controlled my responses. Now I control them, with a calm response said in a friendly but firm way.
Norman Vincent Peale said, “The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person.”
When I saw that quote, it got me thinking about hurricanes. When I pay attention to one being tracked, there’s often someone standing in a town being hit by one, yet the weather seems okay. They explain that the eye of the storm is over them, so they’re having a break. Not being science savvy, I’ve never understood how a storm packing 100 mile an hour winds and torrential rain can be calm in the middle. But it is.
In life as in weather, when we keep our inner emotions calm in the face of emotional situations, we keep our power and can control having a calm response that gets more.
I recently was waiting on line for service. The woman in front of me complained this was her third time trying to get what I was there for. She warned me I probably wouldn’t get it either. She described how she had raised her voice to them many times but they didn’t take her seriously and were uncooperative. She was there for one final confrontation. I was also frustrated by having to come in person for service but planned not to take it out on the service rep. I suggested she speak nicely but she insisted that would get her nowhere fast.
I refrained from pointing out that she had already gotten nowhere fast by raising her voice. So she she yelled at the rep again, and left in a huff of more frustration.
When I stepped up to the person who had caused this woman’s frustration, I smiled. She smiled back. I nicely explained my problem and asked how she could help me. She explained what she’d do. I firmly, but still in a friendly manner, explained why that wasn’t enough. The frustrated woman before me said she’d tried to get to a supervisor but they’d never called one.
I nicely asked to speak to someone else who could make what I was there for happen.
She asked me to wait and went to another office. When she returned, she’d spoken with a supervisor who had authorized her to give me what I wanted. I expressed my appreciation profusely. The whole encounter felt so much better than getting emotional and letting her feel my wrath like the other woman did. That makes people not want to bother going out of their way for you. She then thanked me for the way I handled it and gave me her card in case I had another problem.
It’s not easy to stay calm when you’re angry or frustrated, but it’s what you must strive to do. That’s how you get people to hear you most objectively or get their cooperation.
Whether it’s dealing with people in my personal or professional life, with service people or whoever else I might need to address a problem with, I do affirmations about getting what I need to calm me down. Then I watch WHAT I say and HOW I say it.
· Will I began with an accusation or other attack or set a friendly tone with a “hello, how are you?”
· Will I tell her how angry I am, letting the emotion come out, or just state the problem?
· Will I go on and on about how angry I am or be concise and then ask how they can resolve it?
· Am I angry, antagonist or smiling and friendly?
· Am I using nasty or insulting words or just making a point?
Controlling your response can lead to getting what you need much more often than going off on someone. Staying calm in the face of angry situations makes you a better person too. And it’s a logical choice since you get so much more. Be conscious of how you respond to frustration or anger. Keep the eye of your storm calm and you’ll get more and feel much better too!
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