About to lose your cool? Try these three tools whenever you’re dealing with difficult people or tense relationships.
In Part 1 of this blog series on working with difficult relationships, I talked about establishing and protecting your boundaries by forming an agreement.
Like I said, I’m not perfect at this. Nobody is.
We all lose our cool every once in a while. What matters is how you show up and do the work every day after that.
That’s why, after I lose my cool, I like to practice simple tools and techniques that help me stay in my peace and power.
These principles have served me so well that they now feel more like a default way of being than a tool I have to dig out and figure out how to use.
All they require for mastery is consistent practice. So give them a try and see how it makes you feel.
How To Deal With Difficult People: Part 2
3 Tools For When You Lose Your Cool
1. Mute Your Reaction
This one is so simple it’s almost funny. If you don’t want to escalate the situation – but you’re scared you’re going to open your mouth and say something stupid – just mute the phone. You can even say what you want to say, but say it on mute.
It might seem silly, but notice if it makes you feel better to release that emotion. See if it allows a shift within you. Maybe then you can focus on what the other person is feeling.
You can also do this after a tough in-person conversation by writing a letter to the other person and then burning it.
Do what you have to do to express yourself without escalating the situation.
2. Walk Away
If you’re in the middle of a tough interaction, and holding your tongue just isn’t possible anymore, then give yourself the 15-minute rule. You can even give yourself an hour or more – however long it takes for the emotional charge to dissipate.
If you need to, use this time to journal your hurt, anger or disappointment. Use the self-care strategies and self-reflection practices we talk about on the blog all the time. This is when you use your tools.
It’s really important to practice holding your boundaries in this case. If they call, let them leave a voicemail. Take your time. You’re setting a boundary for what you will and will not tolerate: mischaracterizations, untruths, lying, pitting family members against each other – none of that will ever serve you. So don’t allow it.
3. Find a Long-term Solution
It’s one thing to keep your cool in the occasional fight or tense argument. The real trouble comes when someone is continually breaking the agreement, emotionally reacting and escalating the situation by goading you into a fight.
In this case, I recommend reaching out to a therapist for strategies on how to manage big emotions, and suggest the other person does, too.
If you want a long-term solution, then both parties have to respect the agreement together. Or the trust is broken. Faith in the relationship can no longer survive. So it’s time for each person to focus on holding themselves accountable.
It requires me to rise above a lot of things that hurt me in the past. And that’s true for him, as well.
But I know it can be done.
Because I’m doing it.
The Bottom Line
This year, I’m clear on what I want – from myself, from my relationships, from my healing.
The divorce is behind me now. The healing that needed to happen is still going on, but I’m not where I once was. And I’m grateful for that.
Last year, I knew I needed to rest and give myself time to process and rebuild. But this year, I feel more open to new relationships and new possibilities.
I know what I want, and I know what’s out there waiting for me.
This work is my gift to myself. I’ve brought myself to a place of wholeness, and I’m ready to see how I can complement someone else’s life, too.
In fact, I think 2022 and I are going to have a really stellar time.
So cheers to 2022 – and to creating lemonade out of relationships that only seem to want to give you lemons.
Did you miss it? Check out Part 1 of this blog: Setting & Protecting Your Boundaries.
Is 2022 the Year You Make Lemonade?
I’ve been working on this practice for over 20 years, and I’ve learned quite a few tools, techniques and mindsets along the way.
I share all my best strategies for navigating life’s toughest moments inside of my membership community. You can even find a video course on this exact topic that includes everything you need for self-discovery and empowered action.
All you have to do is show up for the journey.
Learn more about the Iconic Woman Course.