I reached an interesting point last week. The point when I truly couldn’t take any more. And it happened, as such things often do, over what would appear to the outside world as a completely minor and trivial thing. Yet from where I stood, it was enormous – it was of mountainous proportions and totally blocking out everything else from view.
It’s too embarrassing to go into details – both of the event, its catalyst and my reactions (yes, tears did feature in quite some volume). But there is some very strong learning there too.
Firstly – I’m human. However much I like to think I’m strong and capable, able to step back, empathise, understand and so on, I am still as vulnerable as anyone else to getting caught up in my personal emotional responses at a moment under pressure and act less appropriately than I would like.
Secondly – this knowledge is vital. It allows me to understand how others get caught up too – and know that when I witness such displays that underneath there is much more than appears on the surface. I can only see the moment – for the individual involved there is a whole tsunami of events and emotions flashing past.
Thirdly – in both cases, be it me or another who has just reached that point, people need to move on. You can flip the atmosphere, catch and challenge the response in the moment after. You don’t have to allow the aftermath to roll out in a destructive way, you can laugh at yourself and your behaviour, you can apologise and let others know you were under pressure and aren’t proud of your response, you can mark it all down to experience.
And then you can pick up the pieces and begin again.