I’m Mad All Over Again! – Reliving past negative situations
The day we came home from the hospital after our daughter was born was an amazingly special day! Unfortunately, when we got home, we discovered that the contractor had decided to start their remodeling of the basement the day before. What we saw made us incredibly mad and disappointed! We discovered they had cut the windows in the basement concrete wall larger as we had requested, but the cuts were terribly crooked, the window holes were the wrong size, and they had “accidentally” cut the sill plate, the important foundation that the rest of the house is built upon.
When we called the contractor, he told us these were not important issues and not to worry about them, he would cover everything up so we would never notice. As we emphasized our dissatisfaction and pushed to have them fixed instead of covered up, he finally admitted he and his crew had been hungover when they worked on our house. He then proceeded to tell us that if we wanted him to do this “extra” work, we would have to pay more. We were furious!!
On top of all this frustration with the contractor, we were also dealing with the challenges of adapting to having a newborn baby in our lives! Spending energy arguing with the contractor made me even more resentful because it was interfering with our time with our precious new daughter.
All of this happened almost 11 years ago, but just writing these words brings up a lot of anger and negative energy. Even now, when I see an ad or truck with the contractor’s company’s name, I can feel a strong wave of frustration hit me.
I now realize this is totally normal. It’s a survival mechanism wired into my brain to help keep me safe and avoid future harm. I’ve also learned that it’s easy for us to get caught up in these past negative memories and relive all their emotions. The trick is to notice our thoughts and realize we can change them. This is an important step in the Path for Positivity.
The next time you find yourself dwelling on a past situation that brings back a surge of negative emotions, tune in, thank your brain for keeping you safe, and avoid getting stuck by intentionally choosing to shift your thoughts. It gets easier with practice and using reminders.
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Tina Hallis, Ph.D., a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.