Justin here, and in an effort to be real with you, this is what went down one morning last week:
- Chloe, 4 yrs old, doesn’t want to put on her winter jacket. It’s 4 degrees C out. Alicia wants to tell her to put it on, I want to let her go outside in a t-shirt and figure it out on her own. Queue the argument.
- Levi, 2, spilt his orange juice everywhere. I put our youngest, Rhys (15 months) back in his high chair and unbeknown to me, it was covered in spilt milk and strawberries, which he is all over him now.
- Alicia is heading out to get some headshots done and complaining about a breakout. I can’t see anything, but to her, it’s a huge deal and I’m probably not as empathetic as I should be.
In about a 30 minute time span, there were a multitude of opportunities to become frustrated, upset, irritable.
Then as we start the work day, we’re quickly reminded that being entrepreneurs and creating/building something is much harder than we predicted.
Add on family issues, financial strain and thinking about a friend's sick mom and it can feel like we’re being put through the wringer well before noon hits.
So irritability mixed with a little frustration + overthinking + sleep deprivation = sounds like we need a one-way ticket going anywhere else ha, but in all seriousness, it equals real life.
- Life can be a boiling pot of emotions.
- And when you are controlled by emotions, logical thinking and good decisions are hard to come by.
- Emotions turn us inward, away from reality. We dwell on our anger or our insecurities. If we look out at the world and try to solve problems, we see things through the lens of these emotions; they cloud our vision. (Robert Greene in The Laws of Human Nature)
So how can we help our irritable selves?
- Well, we’d like to say to train yourself to never react in the moment and never make a decision while under the influence of a strong emotion.
- But if we’re being realistic, while you can get better at it and train yourself to step back more often, that just isn’t going to happen all the time.
A few things we can commit to:
- Give your partner a break.
- And equally as important, give yourself a break too.
- Try to reach for calm and clarity and step back from your emotions. But know that it’s not going to happen all the time, you are going to snap, lose it and be irritable sometimes. And that’s okay.
When the milk spills, talk to yourself like a friend would and remind yourself, you got this. And more importantly, we all got this together.