Every once in a while I have these extreme reactions to things. It is like a volcano is erupting inside. Often the external events do not seem to warrant such a hugh reaction and I do my best to cover up the internal storm. Yet I know I am not one who hides emotions well. Too often I can feel my nostrils flaring and something will come out of my mouth that is loaded with intensity and energy. I am getting better at noticing the signals and therefore try to regulate. I do have to live with the consequences of my transparency. Yes I have wished often for a better facial mask or easy skills at compartmentalizing until later. But no – that is not my gift or charm. I am the ‘reactor’ and can not hide when something seems incongruent to me.
Yesterday I had one of those moments. As I was running a Board meeting, a topic surfaced that quickly resulted in a boiling point inside of me. I did my best to navigate through the meeting without too much damage. However, I am left wondering why was I so bothered. The issue involved a history of allowing folks to ‘pay over time’ or give services in exchange tuition (this was a school Board). The school has struggled with financial issues but this has never been enough of a concern to stop the process. At today’s meeting a new case was presented and it seemed the decision was going to be different. This time the answer was ‘no’. I am not sure why I was so angry but I was. I guess because this had been such an incongruent process to date and frankly for me it seemed unfair that suddenly the ‘norm’ was going to be changed. I did my best to deal with my reaction but left just needing to get some space.
Later I found I would quickly return to the same strong feelings and realized I was dealing with a significant level of resentment. I had clearly not spoken over the years as the policy had been set and established to allow some to not pay or do very creative arrangements around payment. Sure there were some real issues and reasons for me to be upset. However, even know I get I am still avoiding the real issue. None of this would bother me so much if I was okay with my own boundaries and commitments to the school, the Board and the folks involved.
Long ago I had learned that anytime resentment surfaces the key is to look at my own boundaries and discover where I was not honoring myself. I have helped many people of the years shift from being resentful and angry simply by having them address their own unmet needs and unset boundaries. Generally once that is done the resentment vanishes.
For me I know I enjoy my volunteer work at the school. However, I often spend more time focused and assisting the school then I do moving forward on some of my own important projects and dreams. No one is making me do that but me. I think I find it easier to help someone else or some other cause move out into the the world then myself.
Even as I write this the eruption inside subsides. Indeed I do need to address the incongruent behaviour. It is just not the school’s behaviour I need to be focused on. First I need to work on my own. Make time for my projects and be sure I am scheduling the time and support I need to make my dreams happen. I am guessing once that alignment is right I will find an easy way to talk about the policies of the school and I doubt my nostrils will be flaring.