Agreement Three is tough, don’t you think so? To look inside yourself when you react. Have you ever had a strong reaction to something someone said to you and stewed about it? I have, especially having a teenager in the house. Or did someone’s behavior offend you? When that happens, it usually has more to do with you than the other person, maybe with a part of yourself you don’t like or something in your past that you have not resolved, some hidden self-judgement or self-pity.As an example, when I was growing up, I was never allowed to express myself. I’m not talking about being rude and hurtful. I’m just talking about standing up for myself. It was seen as arguing and being disobedient and dealt with. After a while, I just didn’t stand up for myself or express myself. So when Malaika expresses herself, I really have a hard time. Now it’s true that she is a typical 13 year-old, but sometimes I find myself reacting to her in an extreme way. Yelling or saying “no” when there is no good reason. Why? Because I’m jealous that she is doing something I was never allowed to do. Or Malaika does not do as well in school as she is capable of, so that makes me a bad mom. Does it really or is it just my internal perception of my own worth?
When somebody “pushes my buttons”, those buttons are connected to feelings I have about myself, my own insecurities and prejudices. So really it’s about me, my feelings. But how I feel is one of the few areas in my life I have total control over. My feelings are mine. And I can look inside and deal with them.
Everyone has buttons, so when someone pushes yours or is critical of you, don’t take it to heart. Look inside before you react. If the issue is yours, deal with it; if not, don’t own it. It’s somebody else’s problem. You have enough of your own.