Frustration, anger and agitation have this way of exploding into our human relationships. It may be “we” who have little explosions towards those we come close to, and other times it is “they” who make explosions towards us. We all do it from time to time, and for some of us, it’s a daily occurrence.
We might come home and have an interaction that turns into something “way bigger” than we feel it “should have” been. For example, we may become highly reactive to statements from others that leave us feeling defensive. So, we unleash frustrations that have been building in us all day, and this turns into conflict with others, who are often those closest tous. So what is this frustration?
You may think of it kind of like a form of static electricity. Imagine you’re walking around a carpeted world all day building a charge of static electricity. Every little frustration,argument, and misunderstanding builds up this charge, little by little. And just like static electricity, we really don’t notice that the charge is building until it’s too late.
So then, we may come into contact with someone else, and as we reach out to touch them, or they reach out to touch us, that great electric charge that was building discharges. It unleashes upon contact with the other person and we both get shocked.
Imagine that anger, frustration, irritability and other similar feelings are a form of static electricity. Throughout our day, we build a charge of these heavy feelings and sometimes,when we don’t make sure to check-in with ourselves and let this charge out in a healthy way, it explodes onto the scene as soon as we have close, human contact. It always seems to happen when we get in real close and this means that it usually “discharges” onto those that we have the most intimate relationships with- our spouses, children, parents, and soon. And just like static electricity, we both get a jolt and are often both left feeling upset by the unexpected shock we’ve received.
What stops static shocks? Well, think about what happens when you pick up that static electricity by walking around a carpeted room all day. Sometimes we remember that static is building in us, even if we can’t feel it, so we reach out and touch a metal door knob before shaking hands, hugging or touching another person. This is a way to make sure we release the charge on something other than people we come in contact with. But even this way, we ourselves get shocked in the process. And with anger, we may “take it out” by punching a door, throwing a cell phone or screaming. This might keep us from shocking someone else, but then we get hurt in the process.
With static electricity, there is a way to avoid shocking others and avoid shocking ourselves at the same time. /interestingly, the process is called “grounding”. Grounding is a simple method of allowing this electrical charge to “pass through us” into the ground-when we are directly “connected” to the “ground” beneath our feet, the charge doesn’t affect us, and there are no explosions.
When it comes to our anger, frustration and irritability “charges”, we can ground our selvesas well. This can prevent us from explosive “discharges” onto someone else. How do we ground? It’s a practice of allowing all of that electrical charge that’s been building in us, all day long, to flow through us. When we come home from work, we might first do some breathing or take a little walk and allow ourselves to release some of that frustrating energy out into the ground. The trick is to “let go” of this energy that we are holding onto.So before we come into contact with someone that could get a jolt from us, we must let go of that energy so that the charge is no longer there.
And for those times when it’s another person who is “discharging” this energy onto us, it’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily personal. Some of us are very sensitive to what we see as others’ frustrations. We make it about us. We take it personal when things explode and this leaves us with a bad, lingering feeling, which also starts building a charge in ourselves. And then things can become like a constant exchange of electric charges-me shocking you, you building a charge, you shocking me, me building a charge, and soon…
So when we’re on the other end of the shock, we might also take a deep breath and remember that this shock is more than just about us. It’s about every little, subtle thing that built up while walking about the carpeted world. Then, we may even help that other person to “get grounded” before we reach out and get shocked. We can help them by processing and validating so that they can let go of frustrating energy that has been accumulating throughout the day.
As you move about your life today, take note of all those little things that may be creating a charge within you and remember to ground yourself before people get shocked.Sometimes the shocks are unavoidable, so it’s important that we just do our best to work on it, and when it happens, make sure we talk about it and figure out how we might ground ourselves better the next time around.