Yesterday, I had to make a business phone call. Thinking I might have been overcharged, I went into it wanting to know how my bill inflated so much in a month.  After many attempts, I was not able to get a satisfactory answer.  I was resigned to pay the bill the way it was, do some follow up research and change my ways, if necessary. I went about my day, not wanting to give it any more effort for the time being.

But it kept churning away in the back of my mind.  I was uncomfortable and cranky.  So I took a moment to listen and realized I had a lot of negative thoughts running wild in my head. It felt like I needed to take it apart.

I think it best, if possible to write out the following steps so as not to get lost in your thoughts.

1)  I started with a description of the event.  What actually happened. How frustrating it was to not get the answer I wanted.  How she kept reading from my bill or repeating a canned speech.  I tried to stick to the facts, but allowed my biased view and anger to come out.  Sort of like telling the story to someone else, expect I didn’t have to put it on them and writing it down helped me to see it more clearly.

2)  With that out of the way, I was able to get to the feelings.  I was obviously feeling frustrated.  I was also sensing some lack, having to spend more money and limit my actions in the future.  I was worried about what those limitations might mean to my relationships.  I was angry at the woman on the phone, but also angry at myself for not knowing better.  Victimized by the things I could no longer do.  No judgments, just recognizing them.

3)  Seeing the feelings spread out like that I was able to sort through each and cheer myself up.  Maybe the limitation would be better for me in the long run.  I could find another way to get the information I wanted.  I had other options. Taking each one on its own, it didn’t feel so overwhelming and the anger subsided.

4)  Having cleared all that out, I found something else, buried underneath it.  Someone had said something cross to me earlier in the day  The little girl in me was hurt to begin with.  But the adult was able to say, “It’s okay.  She (the other person) was probably upset about something else.  No big deal.  I can handle it.”

5)  With the real hurt taken care of, I could move forward with a clean slate, a calmer mind and no more baggage dripping off me.

It really pays to take the time to witness the individual components of what’s got a hold of you.  You never know what you’ll find!  All clumped together it can seem scary or at least unpleasant.  Like a child unwilling to let go of a filthy blanket, those marching cranks can feel almost like security.  But when they’re spread out on the table you can see what’s really happening.  You might want to give a squirt of cleaning solution on that stubborn spot or bandage the wound.  Then, life can be grand again!