You’ve lost your temper.
May be you were right.
May be you were wrong.
But you’ve lost your temper and now you look silly.
We’ve all been there, I know I have countless number of times in the past, but thankfully I had a wake up call three years ago that helped me.
I was walking to the supermarket having a good day whilst listening to my audiobook when someone grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back.
I turned around quickly and with the the audiobook still playing, I was faced with an oldish couple on bikes, literally screaming in my face. I couldn’t hear exactly what they saying, so I pulled my headphones out and was bombarded with verbal abuse.
They were cross that I was walking in the middle of the pavement and they couldn’t cycle past.
They then barged past me with the women ringing her bell to demonstrate that it worked and that I was clearly in the wrong for not having heard it.
I’m afraid to say at this point, I launched into a verbal attack back. You see, the one thing I can’t stand are bullies and the fact was, I hadn’t done anything wrong except walk in the middle of the pavement and not hear her bell!
Anyway, I remember I started to argue back, my adrenaline was pumping and I was off.
The end result was the lady crying.
Was I at fault for standing my ground and shouting back?
Honestly I wasn’t. Their behaviour was appalling and if I had been of a weaker constitution they would have frightened me.
But was I proud of myself for screaming back and making her cry?
No I wasn’t.
I felt dreadful.
I was also embarrassed. I remember looking around praying there was nobody I knew to witness the event.
As I walked into Sainsburys I vowed to myself there and then that that would be the last time I would lose my temper like that. It hadn’t achieved a thing except making me feel bad.
The fact was, they were in the wrong, however my reaction had made things a lot worse.
Yes my back was against the wall, she had tugged me back after all and they were both both shouting at me YET something was wrong because I felt embarrassed.
When I analysed the incident later at home, I realised I was embarrassed because I had over reacted. I had lost control. I had given away the power by showing anger in return. In fact, `the way I acted afterwards made me look stupid. Just as bad as them, if not worse.
It was a lightbulb moment, a flash of absolute clarity on how I was going to conduct myself going forward:
- Never lose my temper.
- Act in way that I would be proud of other people to witness.
So incredibly simple but I suppose the best things always are.
Since “Sainsburygate”, I can honestly say I haven’t lost my temper and I feel so much better for it.
Have I had situations whereby I wanted to lose my temper? Yes I most definitely have, but I’ve consciously chosen to stay calm and where I can, polite.
The result being?
I always feel good when I walk away from a potentially hostile situation.
You see I’ve realised, one of the most powerful things you can do when faced with hostility is to smile and be polite. It instantly takes the power away from the person who is being hostile towards you.
Very rarely does losing your temper make anyone look good.
Thinking back, I know that 99% of the times I’ve lost my temper I’ve regretted it afterwards.
So I now I simply chose not to lose my temper. I breathe deeply and react in a manner that if anyone I knew saw me, they would be proud.
As I said, so simple. Yet very very very powerful.
Try it, if I can do it, you definitely can!