It is easy to get caught up in fear, doubt, and frustration when facing challenging circumstances and people. We all have voices in our heads that want to hit the road or fight head on. This is why it is helpful to find ways to step outside of the heat of the moment and sehead-ons from a broader perspective. Otherwise, we run the risk of fighting our way back into things that do not serve us anyway.
I met with a high school student who was feeling irritated by one of his classmates. As the year went on, some of his classmate’s behaviors were getting under his skin. In this case, it was the classmate’s tendency to brag about being of superior intelligence and wit to the people around him. At a certain point, my student had enough of listening to his classmate’s bragging and had the urge to put the guy in his place.
As we talked, a different picture started to emerge. It became clear that the reason that his classmate was always boasting and bragging to him was that he was trying to gain his respect. While my student was receiving excellent marks in his classes, his classmate was not. This particular pupil had been successful in middle school but was not finding the same success in high school. As we reflected on the situation further, my student realized that he was not so much growing tired of his classmate as he was tired of being such a good listener. He recognized that he had been keeping himself engaged with his classmate by unintentionally agreeing with the boasts which further encouraged his classmate to continue.
Suddenly he realized was that he could change the situation by being more true to himself. If he respectfully told the truth or simply stopped giving his classmate positive attention for bragging, the classmate would no longer have someone to unload his inflated stories upon. As expected, in time that was enough to release the frustration and allow the situation to naturally resolve itself.
Perhaps a certain person or situation has been frustrating you. You might be feeling cornered and want to fight back in some way. If so, it is okay, you are human. The good news is that by reflecting on the situation and wondering what you can learn about yourself, you will unlock new, inspired ideas. You might see that the person or situation is indicating to you an area that you have not been acting in alignment with your self.
Much of the time, fighting only leads to more frustration and entanglement. By taking a higher vantage point, you will start feeling renewed and inspired. You will likely discover that the relationships and situations that used to frustrate you start to dissolve of their own accord. Your faith in the world will improve as your levels of joy and success increase. On top of all of that, you will serve as an example to others of the value of kindness and being true to who you are.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org