One day last week my husband and I went to see The Punisher. Before they started rolling the trailers, three 12-ish year old boys in the front of the theater were being.. well…. 12-ish year old boys. I love kids, so I was amused by their attempts to make one another laugh. I especially got a kick out of their reaction when the name “Miley Cyrus” came up on the screen. They responded to her name as older “boys” would to the name “Angelina Jolie.”
I just thought they were cute.
Four people in their late 20s – one female, three males – came in and sat behind us. The female was greatly, greatly annoyed by everything the Miley fans did and said. She was talking non stop, but she’d pause long enough to say, “Oh. My. Gawwwd. Those kids.” after every sound the boys made. Blah blah blah blah… Oh. My. Gawwwd. Those kids.“…. Blah blah blah… “Oh. My. Gawwwd. Those kids.”
It went on right up until the movie started. With us in the middle. Like most people, I have two sides – a nice, laid-back, easy-going side (my dominant side) and the other side: The one who wanted to spin around in my seat and tell Miss 20-Something that the kids were making a fraction of the noise she was making.
I have to confess, a couple of more Oh. My. Gawwwd. Those kids’s and I may have given my husband the shock of his life.
It made me think. Many times, our reaction to a situation is actually what makes the situation so unbearable. The giggling and chattering of the 3 young boys obviously annoyed the woman. Yet, her reaction led to more noise, increased her blood pressure, and prompted her to make a spectacle out of herself. She allowed each noise they made to pump her up so much that her “Oh. My. Gawwwd!”s actually began coming through clinched teeth.
Can you imagine wasting so much mad on laughing kids? If the movie had started and the kids were being a distraction, sure then you say something. Apparently Miss Noise Police wanted the only noise in the theater to be the sound of her own voice.
Her’s isn’t the only instance of a reaction out-performing its cause. How about road rage? How about stressed-out parents yelling at their kids in a store? How about the wife who has a melt down over socks on the floor or the husband who goes ape over a tool left out of the tool box?
“We are injured and hurt emotionally, Not so much by other people or what they say and don’t say, But by our own attitude and our own response.” – Maxwell Maltz
When annoyances, disappointments, and aggrivations arrive on our doorstep, we have a choice to make.
- We can either allow them to stay the size they are and deal with them maturely and appropriately.
- Or, we can blow them up to a far larger size and become cry babies. In the process, we make ourselves look spectacularly stupid, create misery for everyone around us, and make the situation much, much worse.
When our daughters were growing up, sometimes they’d get on one another’s nerves so bad they’d actually tell my husband or me things like, “She’s looking at me!!!!” One time my husband told one of them, “Well, look back at her.”
Even today, when they’re a bit older, they still have moments when one of the three does things that make one of the other ones want to pull her hair out (whether it’s her own or her sister’s doesn’t really matter – hair must be pulled). I’ve always taught them that three little words can work wonders for annoyances. These three little words allow you to stay in control – taking power away from what (or who) is bothering you. The words are Let it go. It goes without saying, of course, that some things don’t qualify for this response – but oh so many do.
Remember, the next time you face an annoying situations, don’t allow your reaction to compound the problem.
If you can’t put the fire out, step back from the heat. If you stand there fanning the flames and cursing the heat, you’re just going to look like a darned fool.