Lateness and Me
Oh man! I had a revelation the other day and, on the one hand, I'm pretty pumped about it. But on the other hand, all I can say is, "My bad."
For years I've emphatically professed to hate beyond words, being late. When my family is heading out to a gathering and leaving when we should be arriving, when I'm stuck in traffic, when my kids have to use the bathroom one more time, when my daughter is twirling and singing instead of putting on her GD boots and I can feel the bus approaching, when my husband is doing … well, I don't really know what he's doing. I FREAK OUT (mostly inside … ish). But I mean it. I. Freak. Out. My blood pressure rises, steam jets from my ears, I feel deep angst and aversion coursing through my entire body. I want to throw things and break them (I do not act on this - often). I hate being late. And I've stood by my stance on the matter for years.
" I don't know why, I just hate being late with a burning passion! "
Actually, I even thought I sort of knew why. I blamed it on Schumacher Time. I'm pretty sure other families have their own version, but for my family of origin, being late was such a regular occurrence others had given it a nickname and come to rely on it. Schumacher Time.
So, I hate being late, and react in a knee-jerk, bratty way. Not cool. And after I do so, I apologize, but in the most victim-ish way possible. I sheepishly say to my husband and kids, "I'm so sorry, I just can't control it. I wish I could. I just hate being late with such a passion. I'm trying to breathe. I really am! I don't know why I can't stop myself. I just can't!"
And for a while now, I've been trying to breathe through these episodes and try engaging my senses to be mindfully present to offset the rage ... and was failing. I'd simply incorporated snapping, "I'm trying to breathe! I'm trying to focus on the moment! [insert angry and aggressive sounding breathing here]"
So, imagine my surprise when the other day I realized something interesting. On Tuesday mornings my son and I take an early childhood class. And nearly every Tuesday, we waltz into that class 5, 10, 15 minutes late. Which got me wondering. Why am I okay being late to this class when I hate being late for so many other things.
And then I started thinking of examples of all sorts of times when being late did not get my blood boiling and launch me into Hulk Smash mode. Huh. Like for years I've been okay when my patients are late to their appointments, I've somehow gotten all zen about that unique category of lateness.
So I thought about it more, and it dawned on me. I don't hate being late. In fact, I often don't even mind being late a little bit. What I actually react to in such a visceral way is not being in absolute control.
Hmmmmm. So now when I'm about to freak out and blame it on my innate hatred of being late, a little voice in my head says, "What you are really about to freak out about is that you want to control everything. Do you really want to be that person, Nicole? Really?"
I most emphatically do not.
I'm working on it.
Do you have some hot button emotional triggers that you could explore? Let me know what you discover!