We've all been there and totally lost our shit in public. If you're like me it may have been because of something really silly and unnecessary. Or maybe it's because you feel like you're surrounded by idiots or clueless/selfish people. Or maybe it's because you know that a certain situation could be done with much more organization or efficiency (this was a big one for me). So frustrating watching knuckleheads!!
Because the very meaning of public means you're probably surrounded by people or somewhere in which stomping to your room and avoiding everyone isn't possible, below are some things to help you keep your cool when being poked by idiots.
First, let's discuss meditation. While it would be a great tool to use in the moment, as it allows you to turn off some of the loud yelling thoughts and anchor your thoughts, the big calming benefits of meditation actually come from practicing on the regular. When you practice for a few moments each day you are strengthening your keep cool muscles. So a regular meditation practice will allow for these annoyances to slowly fade as they simply won't fire you up in the same way.
In the moment...
Now, let's say that you have been practicing your meditation and yet you still lose your cool while in traffic, when an old man curses at you through your window for a very silly reason. This actually happened to me not too long ago and I for sure lost my shit. I yelled a lot, he yelled a lot. We made a scene. Don't worry, I killed him with kindness, asking him "what would you advise the women in your family to do if they ever encountered a gentlemen such as yourself?" Maybe I killed him with smart-ass-ness.
I laugh at this now but by me responding to his rudeness and idiocy I made things worse and added hate and ugliness to the situation. And while I don't like to live in fear, road rage is a real thing and I had no way of knowing what my comments were going to unveil. So instead I could have done the following:
- Roll up my window and ignore the ignorant behavior. By ignoring and walking away you allow yourself a breath before you get too fired up. If you can't walk away you can at least excuse yourself and go into the hall or a bathroom stall to gather yourself for a few breaths.
- After rolling up my window I could have done a meditation in which you simply focus on the sensations in your hands. I like this meditation while in a pickle because for me it is easier to notice the sensations in my hands than my breath when I am fired up. Continue to come back to the sensations you feel in your hands only. You can keep your eyes open and do this anywhere, for as long as you can or need.
- While waiting for the light to change (which seemed like it took forever), I could have repeated a mantra to cool me off. Something like: "Be kind. Everyone is fighting their own battles," or "Being kind is better than being right." If there seems to be something at the moment that really gets you riled, come up with a mantra (quote or saying) just for that particular encounter or experience.
- Instead of jumping on the phone and telling anyone that would listen how rude this man was and how drama filled my morning was, I could have rattled off my gratitude list to bring my thoughts to things that make me feel good, instead of focusing on and replaying the crap.
- Lastly, (and this is the one I finally ended up doing after all the other dramatics didn't help me feel better) the phrase "I wish you happiness and the root of all happiness" was repeated while thinking of this extra angry man that called me all sorts of disgusting names. This was not easy, never is. But it did get easier the more I said it. It also made me realize that the poor man probably lives an angry life and that a little more love sent his way was probably not a bad thing.
When we lose our cool and let our emotions explode in anger or frustration or tears, we hinder our ability to resolve any issues. No listening is being done. No progress is being made. Finding a go-to way to calm yourself down in a matter of moments is crucial. Essential oils, music, movement, a loving friend, a moment in the loo to yourself, anything that allows you to step away from the agitation and calm down a bit, will allow the cool, calm and collected version of yourself to show up, the version of yourself that can work through agitation and apply the lessons to personal growth.