Emotions can be hard things to rein in. A friend of mine quoted a finding that it takes only 90 seconds for an emotion to pass. (http://www.emergecoaching.net/90-seconds-of-emotion/)
That may sound quick to some of you, but when the emotion is anger, that’s an eternity! I think about my anger issues and it boggles the mind how much verbal damage can be done in that span of time (physical damage usually isn’t the problem). The concept of the article was to learn how to face your emotions and deal with them, which sounds good in theory, as do most things in life.
But haven’t you ever just woken up in a sour mood? Or maybe a blasé mood that quickly turned worse for no definable reason, or possibly for a particularly good reason? Sometimes our minds and moods rebel against what we know to be right and proper. We have nothing really worth seething and stewing about, and yet we do it anyway. I wrote a book about focus and finding your calm and peace; God wrote an infinitely better one. We know what we’re supposed to do, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to do.
Logically we know we aren’t doing anyone any good, especially ourselves, but it’s hard to snap out of a certain mindset sometimes. We know all that’s right in our lives, yet can’t seem to, or don’t want to focus on those things at the moment. We know all about grace, love and forgiveness and yet still find ourselves terse, haughty, and itching for a fight. I’m not sure about you, but just knowing that I’m acting or thinking poorly and that I know better makes it worse and so begins a vicious cycle of mental flogging and self-condemnation which does nothing to improve my mood or emotional state!
So what do we do? We already know what we’re supposed to do and that’s not happening, so what next? A time out. Yup, just like when you were two years old throwing a tantrum…only now the nose in the corner is optional. If we can’t be civil, if we can’t practice what we preach, if we can’t play nice with others, then don’t play with them at all. Private time is mandated at this point if you want to keep any hope of dignity, decorum or decency. (Or any hope of relationship recovery from the arguments that will surely ensue!)
If you want to stew, fine. If you want to vent, fine. If you want to scream at the walls and pull out your hair, fine–just don’t let it affect anybody else! Don’t sour someone else’s day. If you can accomplish what we’re supposed to do and reframe your state of mind, bully for you…you may rejoin the class. If not, then take whatever time you need (90 seconds not withstanding) to get over whatever it is that’s eating at you or if that’s unknown, then at least let it run its course.
It is sometimes hard enough to be civil when we’re happy and in a good mood, I really don’t need the extra challenge in my life of dealing with people when I’m not! (And I certainly don’t enjoy dealing with the emotional carnage left in my wake.)
Even Jesus took a time out now and again. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do….For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Romans 7:15-19