What pushes your buttons? What makes you angry?
Me? Passive aggressive behavior pushes my buttons. I often react to it with anger and sometimes lash out in “retaliation” without thinking first.
My Buttons Are Easy for The People Closest to Me to See and Push
And guess what? The people closest to me know this about me (just as I intuitively know what their buttons are). And those people occasionally employ passive aggression with me when they are, in that moment, feeling angry towards me, frustrated, and/or powerless.
Their choice to exhibit passive aggression is entirely theirs – there is not much I can do about it. But I can always do something about my response. And reacting in anger usually makes me feel rotten afterward.
Doesn’t That Person “Deserve” My Anger?
So why, knowing that passive aggression is not “okay” for someone to use against me and knowing that I am “justified” in my anger towards it, would I tell new, better-feeling stories about it? Because I don’t want to feel rotten and I am, after all, the only one in control of how I feel (unless I want to surrender that power to someone else). Feeling rotten does not align me with my desires and acting in anger towards someone does not create a personally pleasing physical reality for me.
When someone pushes my buttons, I can choose to tell a new, better feeling story about it. I can remember:
- “The button-pusher is, at that moment, not in a good place; anyone who feels great about himself doesn’t need to resort to that kind of immature, non-effective behavior.”
- “The scenario where my buttons get pushed by a loved one or acquaintance is, after all, a well-rehearsed dance; the button-pusher and I know the choreography by heart and I am just as responsible for the habitual nature of this dance which has been formed through loads of practice between us.”
- “Justifying my angry reaction to getting my buttons pushed doesn’t make me feel any better in the long run. I might get the satisfaction of feeling “right”, but I don’t feel good. Which is more important to me today? Being aware of my part in this dysfunctional dance and taking responsibility for it feels much better than the self-righteous satisfaction of being “right”.
Those stories feel so much better than:
- “I need to yell at this person because he has made me angry with his button-pushing behavior.”
- “I am justified to be angry and yell at this person; he deserves it damn it.”
- “I will punish this button person; he will not get away with this behavior”
Taking Responsibility For Myself Is The Antidote to the Poison of Self-Righteous Anger
Knowing that it takes two willing people to dance a familiar dance of button-pushing/anger response, I can choose to stop my part in it and blow out the flame of our conflict. I can do that by telling myself better-feeling, believable stories like the ones I described previously. And that feels much better, is a more self-actualized response, and aligns me with my desired outcomes.
Not to mention the fact that, with enough practice at telling myself these new, better-feeling, believable stories, I build new beliefs for myself. And with these new beliefs, over time, I find myself reacting with anger, towards button-pushing behavior, less and less.
Pretty soon I have far fewer buttons to push! And that’s a wonderful state of being.
Getting angry at people, especially people I know and love, just doesn’t feel good nor does it serve me. No matter how profoundly I can justify it. In fact, “justified” anger is, in my experience, one of the worst spiritual poisons I can drink! (Click that link to Tweet it)
Stay tuned to this blog for more techniques to use new paradigms from quantum physics to align yourself with your desires more completely than you’d thought possible…