Last year I did a blog using the following bar graph to explain that we need to be more patient with people who are not at their best including ourselves. Like when I’ve had a long day I can be grumpy or bad at listening (I hope the fact I’m not perfect doesn’t upset you) or like when my wife can be snappy when she feels overwhelmed (like a normal person) and be downright mean when she’s hungry (I don’t get the ‘hangry’ thing, but I’m glad she always has snacks on her now), when we’re not feeling at our best we are not likely going to be treating others as best we can. It’s like when you have an exam to write, no matter how much you study, if you don’t sleep the night before, you’re not going to do as well as you could have if you were rested. I’m sure you’re reading this and thinking, “Yeah, this is pretty basic stuff,” but I’m yet to meet someone who has mastered this kind of understanding when dealing with others. When we get in the heat of the moment our selfish side tends to take over and we forget where the other person is coming from even if they’re obviously in a bad spot. As this graph points out different things add up to bring us down.
This graph is helpful to point out a couple key factors when dealing with people:
- We need to do our best to be at our best. For instance we need proper eating, sleeping, exercise, alone time and social interaction in order to be better at handling life.
- When people are rude, angry, or mean, it’s not about us. They’re in a bad spot… or they just suck as a human being, but this is really rare.
- Timing for conversations is very important. For instance, you shouldn’t engage in a conflict risky conversation right before bed or when someone has just come home from work.
- This points out why addictions and things like depression are so hard to break because when we’re in a low we have less personal strength to combat temptation and negative feelings.
- This explains why affairs are so common and why people who swear they’d never have one end up having one.
Recently when I was explaining this graph to help someone see why their spouse has been acting so differently lately it hit me that this is why affairs are so popular among people who would’ve sworn they’d never have an affair and why people in an affair will think they can’t leave the affair. When someone is low on this scale for an extended period of time they’re going to be desperate for relief. If you’re really down, “falling in love” can spark life back into you. I’m not saying this is a good thing (hopefully you know I’m not that dumb), but when you’re desperate to feel better “falling in love” is a high that clouds us from the fact that our life still sucks. When people have an affair it’s often said they’re in the “affair fog”, which is the same as saying you’re in the “honeymoon phase”. You’re blind from reality because you “feel” great, but… you’re not. You’re just distracted from your pain. Even guilt has a hard time finding a foothold when the person is in the high of “love”. And if someone feels great because of this affair, which means they feel good for the first time in awhile, how are they going to give this up? Talk about a trap. This is the danger of the little high people get talking to a potential someone online or on their phones. They get the taste of feeling good with each message and they soon crave it more and more. It’s like having a chip. Who has one chip and is like “I’m satisfied”? The problem is once you start it gets harder and harder to stop until you’re feeling bloated and disgusting, which is like the affair relationship crashing in on you. It feels so good it becomes harder and harder to stop even if you get caught. Ultimately, this points out the importance of doing our best to have our lives as healthy as possible with the right amount of sleep and such in order to be at our best to combat temptation before it gets a firm hold of us. It also points out the importance of saying no to temptation as soon as possible. Toying with temptation only makes life harder in the long run.
This week may you find ways to help yourself make wise choices.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people