“You know there is a queue”
“Yeah, I was in it, in front of you”
Fists clenched, punches thrown and I turned around to see one 65+ yrs man have his hands on the throat of another 65+ yrs man.
All because of a couple minutes extra in the line at the supermarket.
I jumped between them and in my strongest, calmest, most grown-up, authoritative voice told them to it wasn’t worth it.
It doesn’t just happen in the supermarket, but on the road, at sporting events, at home, at work, at school….
BUT, how do things escalate from something that is so not a big deal, to a full on fight?
Lots of mad, hiding lots of sad.
Behind mad is always sad. It is so much easier to be angry at the world than to face the sad inside of me.
Ever visited a giant dam wall? Seen the intimidating height of it and realised the weight and pressure of the enormous body of water behind it?
It has a maximum capacity. If it is not kept in check, cracks will appear, water will leak and if not repaired - bursting, breaking and damaging anything around it will be the result.
We are like that dam. We can only take so much sadness before something gives and it leaks out. It will leak out in one of two forms - sad/depressed or mad/anger.
What are the warning lights? How do I know when I am running the risk of cracks in the dam of my heart?
For me, two warning lights are:
1. Finding myself getting annoyed at things that normally don’t bother me.
2. Hearing myself react to a situation, knowing that it is a little extreme but not feeling like I can stop it or understand it.
So how do we keep cracks in check? Repair any leaks? Make sure that the dam doesn’t get too full?
This is how I try to deal with cracks, leaks or an overflowing dam.
1. STOP - pause, take time out and ask myself questions like these.
What is happening inside me? What am I sad about? Do I feel hurt? What do I feel hurt about? What am I really reacting to?
2. VERBALLY VOMIT - give voice to all the unexpressed, raw emotion inside of me. I will often do this verbal venting vomit onto a piece of paper or in the notes on my phone.
Take a good look at what I am sad about or hurt by. I let loose with exactly all the things I am feeling, what I am mad about, what I am sad about, where it hurts and why it might be hurting.
For me, it is wiser to do this on destroyable paper rather than with another human. It is at this stage that I say things that I feel, but aren’t necessarily true, I say things in anger that would be hurtful but I will later reflect that I don’t truly believe.
3. CHAT WITH WISDOM - Then I need some perspective. I am the dam. I want to grow, to learn, to repair the crack and then allow some of the water to be emptied out.
I need to chat with a fabulous trustworthy wise someone. Talk through with them what I think was happening, who I might need to seek forgiveness from, who I might need to forgive and what I can learn from this.
This wonderful wise human helps give me perspective, to identify and help fill in the gaps I may not see on my own.
I don’t want my overflowing dam to spill out onto others, causing damage, that I had in my power to fix.
It is constant. It is tiring. It is hard, but it is worth it for my own well being as well as those around me. I need the wonderful wise humans around me to cheer for me and help steer me along the way.
Their wisdom teaches me wisdom.
Let's treasure the wise around us. We need them.
Who are the wonderful wise humans in your life?