The other day I got to catch the end of one of the Ice Age movies, I think it was the second one. There was a bit where the characters were trying to get somewhere and the path was blocked by a field of randomly erupting geysers. Something that anyone who is in a relationship can relate to and we all are in some type of relationship.
We all have them and we all hit them. The dreaded (dum, dum DUM!) hot buttons. This is what I call the things that others do, say or that we perceive that they have done or said that set us off. The simple fact of the matter is, we all wear our hot buttons like we were working at TGIFridays and it was our flair. For some, we seem to go through life reeling from one hot button inspired altercation to another. We tell ourselves that we are victims and have a great story about how each person who hit our buttons is an evil doer. Here is a good time for me to confess something, I’m not really a fan of the victim mentality. To be honest, I spent the better part of my life under that mantel, and it didn’t get me very far.
Eleanor Roosevelt is known to have said that others cannot make us feel badly about ourselves without our permission (paraphrased), and the same is true of hitting our hot buttons. We give the power to each and every one of buttons, diverting our energy that could be doing so many other things. Here are some things to keep in mind when someone hits a hot button.
Stop whatever it is that you are doing as soon as you feel that a hot button has been hit. You know what this feels like, anger, fear, irritation and other ugly monsters rush to the brain and wreak havoc. The end result is usually your acting in a completely irrational manner. Temporary insanity may get you off for murder, but it won’t get you off for saying or doing hurtful things to your relational partner. It is better to stop what you are doing for a second, few moments or few hours then to say or do something that will hurt and cause regret later.
Once you have stopped, scan your body and energy centers. Both are going to be road maps to the origin of the energy source for the hot button. The potential sources are endless. Each interaction that we have had, each moment, each second is a potential suspect. Some sources are tricky. They will throw shadows, red hearings in your path I distract you from the true source. Keep pushing inward and into your past until you hit the one. You will know when you have. You may want to have someone who you know/trust who can help with this. Often, someone else is able to push us deeper into the past then we are willing to go on our own.
Once you have found the one (for this particular interaction) then it is time to heal and secure it. I use the word secure because I have found that, more often than not, the power source is based on fear, and fears manifest insecurities. The fears and insecurities may be based on a lie that we were told or inferred from an interaction. For example, much of my life I carried the lie that the fights and eventual divorce of my parents was my fault. I was 18 months old at the time, so clearly this was not the case. Yet, from this I lived with the insecurity that every conflict was my fault and my responsibility to repair. I now live in the security of knowing differently.
The final step is to share the information with your relational partner. G and I do this when one of us feels the other hit one of our hot buttons. If we know the reason for the hot button, we even discuss this. By doing so, we give ourselves the chance to process what caused the hot button in the first place. We also let our relational partner know that doing or saying that particular thing creates negative reactions. Finally, it deepens the relationship as each is sharing with the other.
We all have hot buttons. It is inevitable that those around us are going to hit them at some point or another. The choice, then, is ours. We can remain victims to the pain cause by the hot buttons or take the power from them and grow ourselves and our relationships. As with many things, when you start the process it will seem cumbersome and strange. Yet, the more you do it, the better you will feel and the easier it will become.
Email: If you would like to contact me concerning this blog, please email JourneyToLightAndLife@gmail.com.
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