Losing your cool

A few days ago I was taking a walk with my girlfriend, Tia. We were enjoying a chat when something unexpected happened. Our pleasant conversation took a sudden turn, and my girlfriend went from cheerful to explosive. I found myself confronted with a number of issues I was never aware of and the target of several harsh criticisms.

I won’t lie, when I heard everything my girlfriend said, my feelings were hurt. Tia tore me apart, and I struggled with deciding whether to focus on consoling my upset girlfriend or making it clear that the way I was not okay with how harshly I was being treated.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Explosions.jpg

After the dust settled, we started sorting through some major issues. Tia was feeling very insecure about our relationship, and I was worsening the situation by pressuring her to grow too quickly as a person as well as saying a lot of things that made her feel like we could break up at any moment.

We each talked through various insecurities we had. Tia’s being the possibility of us breaking up, and mine about the irrational fear of falling into an abusive relationship and needing to know I could end things if such a thing happened (an emotional baggage I thought I got rid of ages ago). Once we sorted it all out, we addressed each other’s fears, and things got a lot better. Tia became relaxed and her health improved (apparently she experiences stress-migraines), and I felt even more supported than before.

The reason I share this personal story is because it helped me learn something important. We treat anger and arguing as something bad. This is especially true if you tend to be more meek and introverted. We hate conflict and we avoid it, but it’s important to let yourself lose your cool from time to time.

Before Tia exploded, she had an insane amount of stress. She was irritable, she had an intense headache, and even her stomach was hurting from all the tension she was experiencing. Once we talked things through, we both cried a lot, and we enjoyed some sweets together. Tia was happy again, our relationship felt better, and I also felt more secure in our relationship. None of that would have happened unless Tia lost her cool.

In other words, exploding is ugly and conflictastic, but it’s an important piece to establishing change. A problem can’t be fixed until somebody knows it’s a problem. Not to mention, as you get in the habit of exploding, you’ll get better at it. You’ll start tackling problems before they get really big, and you’ll learn to minimize conflict and deal with it constructively.

So, the next time you’re dealing with a stressful situation, speak up. Tell people what’s bothering you. Let yourself get a little upset. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and you can’t live life without a few arguments.

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