Sunday, January 27, 2013


A while back I was called in to intervene when a family member was having a meltdown. The situation required immediate action and I had to drop everything and respond. Ultimately I came through (what a man), but I dealt with the person too harshly, and afterwards I felt guilt. So what happened?

In reality I was scared and anxious, but I also was feeling somewhat angry because this was a repeat situation. I needed to make a quick decision and take control. I was unsure of what might be needed, but it was up to me to figure it out. So I overreacted.

The intensity of your feelings does not justify negative behavior.
The intensity of your feelings should direct your positive action.

It is common to justify more extreme behavior because of the intensity of feelings. But just because we are feeling deeply does not give us permission to cross good boundaries. Our feelings may not even reflect reality. They may just come from our perspective. At that point we are simply being judgmental and lacking love. Instead the intensity should be a big caution sign that you may be approaching a dangerous situation that needs careful consideration. 

What could I have done that would have had a better outcome? I think I could have done a few things that would have helped.

  • Self soothe. I could have engaged in some positive self talk as I was driving over to meet the situation. I could have taken deep breaths and calmed myself to the best of my ability. I could have been aware that my anxiety would only add to the already anxious atmosphere. I could have tried to be the least anxious person in the room. I could pray.

  • I could have resisted my impulsive first actions and slowed myself down a bit. Even in the midst of the situation there was time to think rationally. There were options available that I needed to consider before I took a potentially harmful step.

  • I could have taken positive control, even while feeling out of control. I could have been firm and directive rather than emotionally reactive. I could have considered the other person’s feelings rather than mine alone. Kindness goes a long way in a tense situation.

Have you ever been financially stressed, then made an impulsive decision?
Have you ever been frustrated with a child, then overreacted?
Have you ever had performance anxiety and spent time worrying rather than preparing?
Have you ever been in a fight with someone you love and said things you wish you could take back?
Have you ever become mad while driving and engaged in dangerous behavior?
Have you ever crossed sexual boundaries because of the intensity of your feelings at the moment?

I could create a really long list, but I’m sure you get the idea. I would love for readers to respond with their own stories in the comment box below.

As always, you can link to this blog, share this blog or comment on this blog. And thanks for taking the time to read it.

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