It does not matter who you are… eventually someone is going to push your buttons!
Sometimes it’s on purpose and at other times, they may have caught you in a place where it just hit you the wrong way.
I used to lash out at people in my younger days. My mind would begin forming zingers to launch to get even. I soon realized that that didn’t work and that I was the one who suffered. It took a lot of restraint and self-awareness to deal with button-pushing in a healthy, positive way.
“We are all each other’s teachers, and in all our relationships – from family to colleagues to friends to romantic partners – there are going to be times when our buttons get pushed.” ~ Christine Hassler
Barrie Davenport once said, “The benefits of allowing a button to be pushed without anger or retribution far outweigh the momentary pleasure of lettin’ em have it.”
I agree, however it took me years to figure that out. I had to figure out what was behind my self-imposed fear that caused me to react instead of respond. I finally decided that allowing my buttons to be pushed was an energy drain. It was a distraction; a distraction I would not afford. Unfortunately it was someone that I was very close to. She was getting under my skin. It was dragging me down and bringing out me at my worst. I had to deflect her misplaced anger, although this was challenging. I had to learn that my buttons were MY buttons and she had no right to push them. It was a tough learning curve.
I eventually walked away from the relationship once I viewed her button-pushing as an opportunity for my own self-awareness, healing, honesty, and growth. I had to learn to love her from a distance. From my now perspective, it was a wise choice.
Everything external is internal. A tough lesson to learn. When the button pushing begins, we should examine “our own feelings and attitudes,” not just theirs. This means that if something outside of yourself is bothering you, for example, someone else’s behavior, then you have that within you as well. Duh!! I stopped judging her and focused on me – how could I be okay with the button pushing and not get wrapped up in a reaction? I learned to stop, take a slow, deep breath, I would close my eyes and (it may sound silly) imagine myself in a happy place far removed from what was going on. Next, I would go somewhere quiet and regroup.
“Projection always hides a feeling you don’t want to look at. If you examine any negative trait you insist is present in another person, you will find that same trait hiding in yourself. The more you deny this trait, the more strongly you will have to project it.” ~ Dr. Deepak Chopra
Dennis Merritt Jones observed: “The irony is – if Chopra is right – we can run but we can’t hide from ourselves. By means of the law of attraction these people will continue to show up in our lives until we learn the lesson. The sad part is many people will go to their grave having never learned the lesson because they are not willing to be honest with themselves by exploring their own inner emotional landscape.
It takes courage and compassion to be willing to see a reflection of ourselves in those who we don’t like and mindfully respond rather than react to them. I am reminded of what one of my early spiritual mentors would say whenever I became chafed and overreacted to what he was saying: “While I may push your buttons, I didn’t install them – you did.” The good news is, with mindfulness, one can skillfully uninstall those buttons. But, the first step is to become aware they are there. When another person “pushes our buttons” perhaps the gift they offer us is an invitation to practice tolerance, non-judgement or patience with ourselves.”
The woman I walked away from taught me many valuable lessons for which I am now grateful. Forgiveness was the key to maintaining a friendship with her after I walked away.
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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