Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Out of nowhere, the boss barks a negative comment. A client reads you the riot act. Your colleague makes a snarky remark.
How’d you handle it?
Did you fire off a knee jerk response to make matters worse? In a heated moment, you can say something you’ll regret later. Note to self. You can’t suck your words back in once you’ve said them no matter how hard you try.
So. If you believe harmonious interactions between work colleagues, family and friends contribute to your happiness; take a closer look at the topic of emotional maturity below by Joseph Murphy, Ph.D., D.D.
Dr. Murphy was an acclaimed figure in the human potential movement. He based his work upon the Science of Mind principles and it’s powerfully relevant today. Do you like to reverse engineer a process? Me too. Let’s see what happens to you when someone makes a terse comment. Take a look.
“What someone else says cannot really annoy or irritate you unless you permit it to disturb you. The only path by which another person can upset you is through your own thought. If you get angry, you have to go through four stages in your mind. You begin to think about what was said. You decide to get angry and generate an emotion of rage. Then you decide to act. Perhaps you talk back and react in kind. As you see, the thought, emotion, reaction and action all take place in your own mind first. Responding in kind means to descend to the level of belittling criticism and become one with the negative atmosphere of the other. Identify yourself with your own aim in life. Do not permit any person, place or thing to deflect you from your inner sense of peace, tranquility and radiant health.” Joseph Murphy, Ph.D., D.D.
Does this anatomy of thought empower you to realize the only things under your control are what you think about another’s words and how you react to them? Fist-bumpers unite.
Dr. Murphy taught emotional maturity means to discipline your thoughts and not respond in kind to a gnarly comment because you, “become one with the negative atmosphere of the other.”
“Awe c’mon Paula; sometimes a nasty response is justified.” I get it. That may be true my friend. What’s more important, feeling good or a nasty retort? If you did even the score, what happened? I thought so. When both people are angry, it’s like they’re wearing earplugs, neither hears what the other says.
No pontification here. I don’t like anyone imposing his or her beliefs upon me; I won’t do it to you. And I’m not trying to wussify you either. I’m a tools not rules gal. Like you, I’m human and dealing with people. I’ve studied these principles for decades, I teach and apply them because A, I want to live a happy life. B, to prevent stress. C, it keeps me off blood pressure meds.
As a 100% Pisano, I’m wired for a passionate respectful debate. Yet a prickly encounter is different. In that case, I pivot the energy and move it in a productive direction thus my Business Alchemist title. Disclaimer. Appeasement to emotional blackmail is not a good idea and it’s a different topic.
So Paula, “What do I do when someone is downright nasty” Step one. Think emotional maturity. Step two. Where possible, it’s wise to put distance between you and the situation. Simply say, “I’m happy to respond to you and I’ll do so after I give it some thought.” Cool off. When you’re calm, respond.
Is this old news? Maybe. Yet how many practice it in the professional and personal arenas? If you aren’t part of the solution, you are the problem.
Emotional maturity and putting a pause between you and a tricky situation are skills for your life toolkit. Discipline of thought and navigating a conversation in a beneficial direction takes practice. Be patient. Treat yourself kindly. Expecting a behavioral change overnight is like wanting the QEII to make a U-turn; it’s more of a slow wide arc.
Experiment with these tools. Notice how you feel and let me know.
© 2018 Paula M. Parker