Getting mad about something is easy – letting it go is often the challenging part.
As someone who is an overthinker by nature, I have a strong tendency to stew on the smallest of issues. This habit of stewing makes the issue feel bigger than it is- leading to extra anger and frustration. I don’t have passionate outbursts like the movies, but rather become akin to a black hole. Dark, moody, and sucking everyone into my moods with me.
There was a time when I would get myself into this black hole state quite often. I wasted valuable time not only for myself, but with the people I care about. Once I became aware of this side to me, I realized that I needed to step back to reflect on my anger and frustration about certain things. I needed to make a conscious effort to pick my battles in life.
It’s in our nature to react to our surroundings, but that natural reaction isn’t always the wisest way to handle a situation. How often have you looked back on something you got pissed off about and felt regretful? Silly even?
Life is too short, memories, moments, time, and people too precious to waste.
The more I made a conscious effort to stop and think about whether these battles were worth having, the more often I realized that they weren’t.
How do I know what’s worth fighting over? What could possibly constitute extra tension, discomfort, and disagreements?
Well, honestly, it depends. It can vary from different people depending on what they value in life. I ask myself these questions any time I’m thinking about picking up that sword, hopping on my horse, and riding into battle with someone – no matter what the reason.
7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Picking Your Battles
It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things that you don’t look at the big picture. If it’s not something that is going to affect my life in the years to come, it’s likely not worth stewing on. I find myself saying “no” to this question frequently when it comes to relationships. I tend to say “yes” more when I’m bothered by something in a work environment or pertaining to personal goals.
I’ll be real with you guys. There is a solid chance this answer is “yes” for me when I get angry about something. If I had a bad day, feel stuck, didn’t eat enough, or feel grumpy for no reason, I develop an overall negative headspace. Negative thoughts spiral into more negative thoughts, and voila, I can easily find something to be mad at someone over.
Take stock in WHY you think you’re feeling the way that you are. If it’s an extension of something else you’re dealing with, don’t create more problems for yourself. Talk about it if you need to get it off your chest, but don’t project onto someone/something. Chances are, they played no role in the bigger issue.
I get lost inside my own head at times and develop fantastical thoughts and ideas about how things should be. This train of thought causes me to imagine how things might play out before they happen. And you know what? When they don’t play out the way I imagined, I get disappointed. I want to be resentful. I expect others to know what I’m thinking and what I want. How on earth is this their fault? It isn’t. I often have to take a step back and appreciate things for what they are in the real world.
It took me awhile, but this is a big one I had to learn with Chris. I’d be grumpy in my head about something silly (like not getting enough quality time with him) and in turn, not spend any quality time with him. These days, he has a job that could potentially put him in harm’s way. I want all of our time together to be the best it can be. I’d much rather hang out and have a good time than sit and pout over not doing so.
When we get upset about something, naturally we are thinking about ourselves. We are thinking about how actions affect us before we stop and think about the other person. As a step parent, it happens a lot. You feel like you nag all the time, but don’t think about how it feels to be the young child getting constantly nagged.
When Chris was in school, I’d get mad about him being on his phone instead of spending time with me. I didn’t consider that he simply needs to unwind after a long day. I mean, don’t we all?
Try to stop and think about roles being reversed. How would you feel?
In the end, hurting someone should never be our end goal. I think about this question a lot with the little dude. Kids are so resilient, but you never know how they are going to be affected long-term by the things you do and say. Even if it’s an overreaction, there are times they don’t forget the way you reacted out of frustration.
Sometimes hurt feelings are unavoidable, but other times we use our words as a weapon with the intention of hurting. It’s always wise to take a step back and consider the feelings of others. Find a way to have a productive conversation instead of a hurtful fight or scolding.
Some problems cannot be ignored or they will otherwise act as barriers. They can prevent you from progressing in relationships or reaching personal success. Think about whether letting your anger boil over will make a mess or cook some great pasta. Maybe a bad comparison, but you get the gist.
Some fights need to be had to move on, and sometimes drifting apart is necessary too. Think about where things are coming from within your heart and mind before acting on impulse. Reflect on what you want your future to look like. Think of outcomes if you speak up, and outcomes if you don’t .
Everyone is Different…
I understand these may not apply to everyone – we all have our own ways of handling our emotions. I’m an even-tempered person to begin with. This helps me to reel it in and take stock of things before reacting. I have learned to let go and not allow my moodiness about silly things to overtake my life. I hope you can find that balance for yourselves as well!
What do you think about when choosing your battles? Are you more hot-headed or even-tempered like myself? How have you managed overthinking and stewing over small issues?