You had a terrible day at work. You come home, and your partner is sitting there on the couch. They ask you how your day was, but you scoff. You’re annoyed – you just had a bad day of work, and your partner is there on the couch looking lazy. Then your kids run at you. They’re fighting. The older one is picking on the smaller one, and the smaller one is crying to you to intervene.
Annoyed and irritated, you march off to your room, and spend the rest of the night on your phone with the door closed. Your partner asks you what’s wrong, but why even bother telling him? After all, he’s part of the problem, and right now you’re annoyed. So you ignore him, and act like he’s not there. You just need some time to yourself, and tomorrow you’ll feel better. He can wait until tomorrow.
For many, some variation of this scenario and others happens in different ways every day. For many, the reaction to this type of story is “well, you had a bad day. You deserve to be a little annoyed.” Certainly, being annoyed is only natural. But what are the results of your behavior towards your family?
Your partner now thinks you’re mad at them, and doesn’t understand what’s going on. They were so happy you were home, but you rolled off, and now they’re sad, stressed – their day is ruined, and they don’t know what they can do to make you feel better.
Your older child was bullied that day. They didn’t know how to handle it, and they needed their mom. But you shouted at them and walked off. Now they feel alone, even worse than they did before.
The truth is that there are small examples of this type of story that happen little ways all through your life. At work, when you decide you’re going to go really slow on a project because the manager was rude to you, it can cause a coworker that’s waiting for your work to fall way behind. At a wedding, when you decide you just needed to get drunk one time, it can cause issues with other attendees that were there for the couple’s love.
There is a popular quote going around on the internet today:
“If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”
But the truth is that your actions affect everyone around you – not just yourself. And your worst is just that: your worst. Do you smile and feel good when your partner is at their worst? Or does it have the potential to ruin your day?
Taking Control Of Yourself and Your Emotions
Now, let’s take a few steps back. You are absolutely entitled to your bad days. Your emotions and your feelings belong to you. You shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling like you had a bad day, nor should you be unable to make decisions for yourself or take care of yourself. You may be a partner, a mom, an employee, or whatever labels you have, but you should always be your own number one priority.
But it is important to have that awareness of the effects of your choices and your decisions, and to realize that it’s not all about you. Some people have struggles. Others are sensitive to your emotions. Still others can be affected in ways that you don’t even see, such as a coworker that now needs to work later and misses out on their family because of a choice you made at work.
When you have this awareness, it starts to change your relationships for the better. It helps you be more attuned to the needs of others, and understand more about how you relate to the world around you.
What’s amazing is that when you start to understand that it’s NOT all about you, you then start to see what you can do to also make the world better. You are more than welcome to your feelings, and you should embrace them. But there is also incredible power in having that mindfulness of everyone’s needs, and what you can do to contribute in a way that doesn’t sacrifice of yourself.
Once you understand the unique role you play in other people’s lives, you’ll find that your own life can see a dramatic improvement as well.