How You React to Other People’s Upset and What it Says About You

“Whenever other people are upset, always remember that they own the upset, and that you can refuse to join them.” ~Wayne Dyer

We would all like to believe, “The devil made me do it” excuse is a valid one, but it is just that: an excuse. Blaming other people for our upset only excuses us from taking responsibility for our reactions. It doesn’t deal with any underlying issues that may need to be resolved, forgiven or healed.

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Sure, we all have buttons, triggers and moments of weakness when we are tired, hungry or even grieving, but do those things give us a pass on having to look in the mirror and do some soul searching as to why we reacted as we did? And does it make our reaction okay, so much so that it becomes commonplace and a socially acceptable “normal” form of behavior?

Seeing people “lose it” at other people because of what the other person said or did is seen sometimes as deserving, like they had it coming. All eyes are on the person being scolded as being in the wrong and the scolder is off scot-free from any scrutiny. We see it in real life dramas and we continuously see it in movies and television. We even see it in politics. No wonder we can feel justified in our reactions. We have been taught to.

What happened to peace and calm? When did that become a sign of weakness and cowardice? Is it any wonder the world is in such dire straits?

“Every moment that you spend upset, in despair, in anguish, angry, or hurt because of the behavior of anybody else in your life is a moment in which you’ve given up control of your life.”  ~Wayne Dyer

When we react to someone else’s upset, we do not give the situation what it needs, which is understanding. We need to appreciate the other’s person’s perspective and what could be going on within them. This does not mean we lay down and take it, or subject ourselves to physical or emotional abuse. It means we lovingly choose to stay calm, disengage and walk away if we need to. Adding fuel to a fire will never put it out or give it the chance to fizzle out and die.

My husband and I recently had an opportunity to experience these dynamics for ourselves. He had a reaction to something I was suggesting, his reaction had nothing really to do with the matter at hand but was more about other things that were troubling him. He got triggered, and his reaction triggered me.

This can be a common dance in close, intimate relationships. What is not so common is knowing to get off the dance floor in a loving and kind way and then learning from the missteps without blame or judgment. We both got off the dance floor and took time to reflect on our own reactions and what they were about.

Then we could come back together and share what we figured out, appreciate each other’s perspective, and offer sincere apologies. The encounter then becomes a learning experience as well as an opportunity to form a closer bond.

Remember, you own your upset and it is a clear indicator something is going on that triggered it and you need to deal with it. Or it could just be that you need to take better care of yourself through sleep, diet and exercise. Either way, it is your responsibility to take. No one else is to blame or responsible for how you react. Once you get into the practice of owning your reactions your life will change for the better, you will have the power and freedom that taking responsibility offers.

“How people treat you is their Karma, how you react is yours.”  ~Wayne Dyer

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