Sometimes I encounter little tests. How I react to these tests takes me a step closer, or a step farther away from the kind of person I want to be.
I have changed in the past few years. I used to let my emotions take control of my ability to rationalize, so that I would simply respond to such ‘tests’ with anger, jealousy and spite. My late father provided the earliest examples of how NOT to deal with situations that had the potential to evoke such negative feelings. I was not immune to the rage that flowed through his blood and infected mine. I didn’t have the strength to resist my own urges. There were times I cowered in fear of his reactions, and in turn, I have laid bare the raw reactions that come from anger, irritation, annoyance. In doing so, I have also instilled fear in those I love. Afterwards, I saw clearly the consequences of letting emotions drive my reactions, and I regretted them to no end.
But like I said, I have changed. I no longer succumb to the dark side of emotions. I do not let myself engage. It takes an enormous amount of restraint to not let my feelings wash over me. In those moments, I breathe deeply. I concentrate my breaths, allowing the rhythmic motion of my chest to calm me down. I keep my mouth shut, or I lower my voice to low whisper, evoking in myself a feeling of calm, rationality. I examine the person I am arguing with. I tell myself, I cannot control what they do or think. I can only control myself. I force myself remain quiet, in control. Yes, I tuck my balls between my legs, and run away from myself, because it is myself that I fear: The irrational child within me who cannot see beyond his own desire to win, the desire not to lose, the desire to hurt.
I can only control me. Sometimes that is difficult, but the consequences of not doing so are at best unpleasant, and at worst, harmful. So I step back, look at myself, feel the swell of emotion rising up, and I bat it back. I resist the urge to confront. Because in the end, I have only myself to confront, and that is challenging enough.
I just walk away.