Emotional Maturity: an end to frustration, anger, and blame - and access to compassion, ease, and effectiveness - no matter the circumstances.
My wife was running late, which meant I would be late to an appointment.
I oh-so-wanted to:
1. indulge in judgments and make her wrong
2. indulge in frustration
3. indulge in blaming her
But I didn't go there. I relaxed through my judgmental thinking, I relaxed through those feelings, and I explored the yard while I waited.
Those emotions - frustration, anger, and blame - wouldn't benefit my relationship. They also wouldn't help me get to my appointment on time.
How those emotions would help me: they'd help me cover up my shame and embarrassment for being late to my appointment. They wouldn’t help me be on time, but frustration and blame are much easier to feel than shame and embarrassment.
Those negative emotions are a choice. Even though they don't seem like it! Even though they don't feel like it!
Those emotions help me avoid responsibility for creating a life and a relationship that I love in the face of all circumstances.
When she was running about 15 minutes late, I started to worry. My mind began creating some pretty vivid imaginings about what could be going wrong.
Again, I didn't indulge. I let the mind do its thing, and I let my heart (my feelings) relax and feel compassion and love for her, for me, and for this life.
When she was 30 minutes late, I realized that I had the time wrong and she still had another 30 minutes to get to me. 🤦♂️
Wow, if I had let myself indulge in that default frustration, anger, or blame, I would feel so embarrassed and ashamed of myself! Instead, I could just smile at the sometimes absurd torrents of our emotions, reactions, and judgments.
Steps to end frustration
There are four steps that I use to diffuse frustration and blame when they arise - the steps are simple, but full awareness and mastery takes something.
Remind myself that I am the one generating the negative emotion. I am reacting to my thoughts and judgments about my wife - she is NOT the source of my emotions, I am.
Relax my body and relax my mind. Negative emotions and the thinking that goes along with them can rev us up! Relaxation is the most effective and direct action we can take when we're feeling fiery emotions.
Remind myself what really matters to me. Unconditional love, grace, and generosity are much more important to me in my relationship than frustration, anger, and blame.
Explore what the negative emotion is covering up. In my case, it was covering up shame and embarrassment that I would be late for an appointment. If there's an action we can take to deal with the underlying emotion with integrity, take that action. In this example, I reached out to people to notify colleagues that I'd be late and to get proper coverage.
Why haven't we learned this sooner?
At the end of a coaching call last week, my client said to me, “After every one of our meetings I have the thought ‘Why didn’t I learn this sooner?!’”
Emotional maturity - where our emotions really come from and how to be responsible for them - is something most of us never learn.
Let's change that.
Thanks so much for reading. 🙏❤️
P.S. As a transformational coach, I help people move beyond their self-imposed limitations to be their best and feel amazing. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you, reach out and let’s talk. 💌