Friday, June 27, 2014

1 to 10

Long ago a friend listened to my ranting about a situation. She listened quietly until I took a breath.
"May I ask a question?" in her calm voice. "On a scale of 1 to 10 - ten being death - how important are these things?"
On a scale with death, they were not so very important.
Often I was caught up in my own whirlpool of emotions and attaching way too much meaning to the lack of reaction to my emotional need and not objectively assessing the importance of the actual issue. In other words, acting like it was a life or death situation when it was really small - on a scale of 1 - 10. The issue usually grew into "if the person cared about ME, they would..." type of thinking.
We've all heard stories about couples getting into great arguments over toothpaste lids and toilet seats. One side or the other cannot get over needing to have it their way. Of course, one side or the other has to give. Otherwise, what sounds like a very small thing remains a constant source of tension. The consequences of the issue grow larger than the issue itself.
Once we've wound ourselves up, it's really hard to wind back down. Maybe the 1 - 10 scale can help. It kind of helps think a bit further and consider consequences. 'Is this really going to kill me?" Maybe even more importantly, 'How is this affecting those around me?'

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