Not that you need me to tell you this, but it’s a very stressful world that we live in.
Turn on the news and you’ll see horrifying stories of global terrorism, increasingly negative and hateful political battles, and consistent stream of crime, racial tensions, and other societal ills that make it hard to even want to leave the house in the morning.
If you do choose to leave the house, guess what could be waiting for you when you finally make it to work? In many cases, it could be a soul-draining combination of backstabbing coworkers, bully bosses, and a mountain of work that only seems to get higher, not smaller.
And that’s if you have a job!
If you don’t have a steady paycheck coming in, then you’re faced with a different (and arguably, worse) kind of stress. Namely, finding a way to keep the lights on in your home and food on your table everyday.
Okay, enough of that stuff.
The point that I’m getting at here is that stress is everywhere and no matter how positive we claim to be, we can’t run from it, even if we wanted to. Denying this reality is not positivity, it’s delusion.
Real positivity is choosing to deal with the stress in our lives as productively as possible. And in my opinion, in order to do that well, we’re going to need some help from our friends.
Here’s the problem, though:
Many times when we’re under stress, we tend to take out our frustrations on the people who are not only there to help us, but they are also the people who deserve our wrath the least (i.e., our friends and loved ones.)
This is insanity, and if you are guilty of doing this, then hopefully this blog post will help you to make a different choice.
Why Do We Do This To Ourselves?
As I mentioned earlier, stress isn’t going anywhere. Even worse, when we’re stressed, we tend to make some less-than-optimal decisions.
Stress can make us insult our significant others for no reason, snap at our well-meaning friends when they’re trying to be helpful, and in some cases, raise our voices at our kids unnecessarily and make them burst into tears. I have known many people who are actually kinder to complete strangers or to a boss who they hate, than they are to their own family.
So, why do so many people (including some very positive people) compound their stress by taking out their frustrations on the people who love them the most?
I have heard a lot of reasons for this throughout the years:
- We’re more comfortable with our loved ones and are willing to show them the “real” us.
- Our loved ones know that we’re just blowing off some steam–they’ll forgive us.
- We think that they will never leave us and that they will always hear us.
- We do it because we can.
There is a huge problem with this line of thinking. It neglects the simple truth that the people who are on the wrong end of these outbursts have feelings too.
Our friends and loved ones are not in our lives so that we can use them as our emotional punching bags whenever we feel stressed. Our loved ones are there to offer support, lend an ear when needed, and be there for us when no one else will.
However, if we sleepwalk through our lives by allowing our emotions to take the steering wheel of our lives, we will end up deeply hurting the people who deserve better from us.
Most of all, we are kidding ourselves if we think that our friends and loved ones will put up with this kind of treatment forever.
A Better Solution
Just like most problems, we must become aware of it, before we can do anything to fix it.
If you are aware enough to notice that you have been known to take your anger out on others, then you’re also blessed with the mental capacity to change it.
An excellent place to start is to sincerely apologize whenever you dump your frustrations onto a loved one.
This is a critical skill, and I am always saddened by the amount of people who are unwilling/unable to do this correctly. If you’re struggling with being a master apologizer (I just made that word up), I wrote about an article about The Art of the Apology that could be helpful.
Next, since we’re talking about stress, it is very important to have a healthy outlet for releasing that stress. For example, here are some techniques that have worked wonders for me:
- Color in an adult coloring book (those things are awesome)
- Get a massage
It is very easy to dismiss this as common sense, but please don’t make that mistake. Common sense isn’t that common, remember? The key here is common practice, and by having a daily practice of releasing your stress in a healthy manner, it will make it less likely for you to displace your anger onto the ones you love.
Speaking of which, it is always worth remembering that life is so short and fleeting. The time that you have with your loved ones is finite and constantly dwindling as you’re reading these words–and these days should be honored. These days shouldn’t be spent in misery and making the people who love you become miserable as well.
Is it worth waiting a until a loved one is in a horrific accident–or worse–a loved one suddenly dies, before we commit to stop emotionally hurting the people we love? I don’t think so. We can commit to this change today.
The world is stressful enough, isn’t it? Just by committing to deal with your stress in a healthy manner (and not not spread your stress to loved ones), you have literally made this world a more positive place.
Our friends and loved ones chose us for a reason. Let’s honor that choice by never turning them into our enemies.
Do you sometimes dump your frustrations onto your loved ones? Have you ever been on the wrong side of that treatment? Either way, jump into the comment section below and make your voice heard!