Develop the mindset that says, “I cannot fail.” Move away from past failures. This is a new day and there is a fresh mindset.
I was downtown Knoxville stopping at a restaurant for a commercial pickup. The streets were packed with cars, scooters, and people walking from store to store taking advantage of the cooler days. The weather had been so hot and humid people seemed to stay indoors instead of venturing outside. But not today!
A gentle breeze wafted the sounds of music coming from the stage on Market Square. Most of the outside tables at the restaurant were filled with people sipping their drinks or nibbling on what remained of their lunch. It was a laid back day for everyone, including the chef where I was picking up food. It seemed like he was taking forever to get the To-Go order finished.
Sitting in the restaurant, waiting for the order to be completed, I happened to look up from my phone where I was winning the last hand of solitaire, to see a police officer walking casually down the sidewalk checking the parking meters. I had a parking permit in my window, as instructed, and the meters where I parked were designated “commercial parking,” or so I thought.
I thought I had everything covered and didn’t see any need to rush out as he approached my car. I went on with my game. At my next look, I jumped up out of my seat and was through the door in seconds. I’ve had so many tickets I can’t afford another one.
The officer walked to the back of my car and flashed a picture of my license plate. As I rushed toward my car and the officer I could feel the anger inside rising. How dare he give me a ticket, I did everything I’ve been told to do.
With each step, my attitude became more intense saying over and over in my mind, “How Dare You Give Me A Ticket.” As I approached, the officer didn’t bother to look up. He continued clicking on his hand-held electronic ticket issuing device.
As I approached I said, “Sir.”
I did manage to say, “Sir.”
“Sir, why are you giving me a ticket? My parking permit is on the dashboard as instructed. It allows me to park in commercial loading zones. See, it says right there, Commercial Loading Zone.” As I pointed to the permit.
It was all I could do to be half-way civil. I kept moving closer and closer. At this point, I could feel my anger rising to epic proportions.
The officer continued typing as he turned to look at me, now eye to eye, my tone echoed through my mind, not a tone of respect or even civility, but a harsh demanding tone, a fighting tone, perhaps.
“Lady,” the officer said. “This isn’t a commercial zone. They are specifically for the dialysis office upstairs. See the permit number of the Parking Meter Bags. It doesn’t match the number on your permit.”
I looked the permit on my dashboard then at the number on the Parking Meter Bags. I was so embarrassed.
A thought hit me like a brick wall of bad odors. My attitude stunk. I had made a vow to regulating my emotions instead of allowing them to run wild and the first time my commitment was tested, I failed!!
I backed up and turned to the officer.
“Thank you for explaining it. I did not understand,” I said as I took the ticket.
Regulate Your Emotions
Typically, we get angry because of a feeling of powerlessness when we are faced with something that seems unfair. Your anger, then, is an attempt to quickly bring things back into balance. It’s like raising your fist to injustice. This quick flash of anger rarely resolves the issue. If anything it makes it worse, causing the other person to respond in like manner – angry.
God had been telling me to control my emotions, especially my anger. But, in the heat of the moment, I felt unjustly accused. I was tested and I failed. I did catch myself before I went off on the officer and embarrassed myself, but it wasn’t soon enough. I still felt the anger, stress, and tension rising, when I took the time to feel it.
“Emotional self-regulation or emotion regulation is the ability to respond to emotionally intense situations in a manner that is socially acceptable, yet, still remain flexible enough to be spontaneous in your reactions and maintain the ability to delay spontaneous reactions when needed.” – How To Regulate Your Emotions…
Does God test us?
I looked up the word “test” in the bible. There were 276 references for just the word “test.” The first reference (Genesis 22:1) was about God testing Abraham to see if he was willing to leave home and follow God to establish a new land and new people. Hebrews chapter 11 tells of all the people in the Old Testament who lived by faith. Their faith was tested.
God had a special time and place for Joseph. Yet, he went through 13 years of testing before he became the second in command in Egypt. Joseph passed the test.
In today’s culture we test everything:
- Did we make the right decision?
- Scientifically, we do split tests to test new medication to see which performs the best.
- When a person wants to change a behavior, they can test the implementation of the new behavior – behavior profiling.
- Tests are conducted continuously in marketing.
Yes, if you make a commitment, a sincere commitment to change, it will be tested, whether you are looking at it from a spiritual perceptive or not.
Gain Control After Failing The Test
I began my change by paying attention to my emotional triggers. For example, I became more aware of the tension and stress in my body. I had been doing well until I saw the police officer starting to write me a ticket.
It happened so fast that I didn’t pay any attention to the tension and stress rising in my body. I was more intent on getting to the office before he put my information into his ticket machine.
In becoming aware of your anger, you must also become aware of the benefits. There is always a pay-off.
Benefits of Anger
- Anger gives an instant “reward’ of feeling morally superior.
- Gives a “justified” sense of self-righteousness.
- Bolsters a shaky self-worth.
- Defends against anxiety and vulnerability.
- Adrenaline rush gives a sense of empowerment.
- Protects against experiencing depression and embarrassment.
- Restores a sense of control.
- Allows you to get your way through intimidation.
Relax – STOP!!!
Think before you speak. Discharge the “fight or flight” energy before you do anything.
Anger is a reaction to a perceived threat which causes every muscle in your body to tense up, ready to do battle. In today’s world it’s unlikely, but not totally out of the question in light of all the recent mass shootings that you will go in for the kill, like in days past. As anger readies your body and your mind for the kill it is likely that you will verbally attack the other person.
In this readiness state you are thinking, “Me right, you wrong!” Or “Me good, you bad!” Your mind is rehearsing that you have been disregarded, falsely accused, disrespected, distrusted, devalued, cheated, discriminated against and so on. You are then looking for revenge.
In order to not attack, you must calm your body and your mind before doing anything or saying anything.
To begin calming yourself at the moment begin deep, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing. Also, create a “touchstone” as a
codeword or an image that you can quickly focus your attention on that calms you.
After you have calmed substantially, you can work more on calming your mind and body by doing one or more of the following:
- some form of meditation.
- listening to tranquilizing music.
- visualization or guided imagery.
- vigorous exercise to relieve the tension.
If you don’t already have a means of relaxing find one. Look up one of these methods on the internet and practice it so when anger raises its ugly head you can deal with it immediately. It’s essential.
Identify the Real Problem
Anger comes from your negative appraisal of the situation and negative core beliefs. If you are a person who gravitates to the negative you may assume the situation is meant for your harm.
As a child, I learned to assume that I was being made fun of, excluded, or intended to hurt. So, as an adult, it was a natural reaction to assume the negative position and launch into “Fight or Flight.”
I am learning that I must alter my negative outlook, belief, which then will change the emotion that is tied to my belief.
Here are some questions to help with identifying the real problem:
- Did he/she really mean what I think I heard?
- Do I need to verify my assumption?
- Am I taking this situation more seriously than I should?
- Is he/she trying to take advantage of me or is this my assumption?
- How does he/she feel about this situation? Are his/her feelings important also?
- Am I just being self-righteous?
- Can I stop focusing on the negative aspects of this situation?
- What are his/her good qualities, instead of their bad qualities?
- What are the facts in this situation?
- Can I prove he/she tried intentionally to hurt or embarrass me?
- See this situation from the other person’s point of view. How does it change how I think and feel?
Choose Rest and Peace
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Don’t allow yourself to be subject to your old way of thinking, to your negative beliefs about yourself. Move away from your past failures. This is a new day. Develop a new, fresh mindset with renewed hope.
Peace is the capacity to live free from any disturbance, your failures, your past. The world, in general, has no peace, it is disturbing by its very nature, watch the evening news for confirmation. It interferes with your ability to find rest and peace by promoting anger, fear, anxiety, worry, stress, and negativity.
Jesus has given us peace. Real peace is tranquility, an inner calm that moves out of your inner being to your conscious mind.
To those who have committed their lives to Jesus as their savior, peace comes from God’s presence within their spirit. You can call up God’s peace from inside at any time.
Peace is a choice. You can choose to move away from the negative. With God’s strength, you can say “no” to the negative beliefs, thoughts, and the accompanying emotions.
When you commit your life to Jesus, you commit to rest and peace as a way of life. It is a way of seeing, thinking, believing, speaking, and acting which comes from a response to God and not a reaction to life situations. It is learned and developed with practice.