I had an interesting conversation with someone who was having some trouble at work with their boss. In classic fashion, they were emotional over an issue, and proceeded to become difficult to approach at work because they were upset at what happened.
When listening to their explanation, they proceeded to share their story as to why what happened took place. What their boss was really thinking without them knowing for sure. Their story became their justification for not only how they felt but also justified their subsequent actions.
After hanging up, it occurred to me that they were too close to the situation and could not objectively think through their next steps. The cauldron of emotion connected to their belief in the story as to why others are acting the way they are, causes them to be blind to better options to handle their situation.
“What would you tell a friend” might be their only way to see more clearly. Friends don’t have the invested emotion that we do at the time.
For when others share their problems with us, we always have ideas & suggestions on the best way to move forward. When in a group, others easily share their thoughts freely as to what should be done and by who. I have never heard someone say “I don’t know what to do” when hearing of another person’s problems.
Making yourself the main character in a new story filled with possible solutions moves you further away in order to see closer. Talking about yourself in the third person sets you up for this. When saying “he or she should”, you force yourself to bring some distance between you and your issues in order to see better options than engaging in a prolonged fight or tug of war.
What gets lost in the heat of the moment, is the focus on how to resolve a situation.
Not make it worse.
An effective technique that I’ve learned is to always be the bigger person in difficult issues and say I’m sorry (whether it is or not that it was my fault) to move past my own ego to calm things down in others. It creates a timeout. Allowing our emotion to drain from our body before trying to move to a resolution. But very hard to do for many.
There is so much that we should be thankful for daily. Both at home as well as work. Nothing is unsolvable. Especially when it is small issues that have festered over time. It’s just that when we are in the middle of things, we can’t think clearly. Making a resolution to an issue, that needs our objectivity, so much harder.
“What would you tell a friend?” is a great exercise to bring you back down to earth. It’s the best lifeline you could have when you feel your blood pressure rising over things that you believe are not in your control but really are.