Last week, I headed out to Denver for a professional meeting. I left on last Tuesday. Now, I live in Louisville, Kentucky. As you may or may not have heard, last Tuesday a storm of rather historic proportions hit Louisville, dumping between 6 and 8 inches of water in an hour. It continued to rain throughout the day. The storm hit around 8:30am.
Did I mention my flight’s scheduled departure was 8:30am?
The pilot tried to get us out ahead of the storm. He couldn’t. Then, the storm stalled. We (a full plane of people and a cranky flight attendant) spent 3 hours sitting on the runway, unable to go back to the gate (the jetway broke) and unable to leave.
Needless to say, the emotions on the plane were fairly raw. People were trying to recline their chairs or use their phones early on, which the flight attendant would not allow. This escalated the tense situation. It set the emotional tone for the entire ordeal!
The flight attendant was just trying to do what she was supposed to (and when it became evident that we were not going anywhere, she did relax the rules). Those on board were simply trying to be comfortable.
We all missed our connections when we finally departed. We all were tense on the flight and getting off the flight. We all struggled to get to where we needed to be (it took me an additional 9 hours). I would imagine that many of us were angry.
So why am I bringing this up in a blog about saving marriages? Well, I wanted to be angry. Problem was, I couldn’t figure out who to be angry with. The pilots? They tried to beat the storm. The flight attendant? Cranky, but she didn’t cause the delay. The airline? The flight was not purposely scheduled during a storm. No, there really was no place for my frustration to go. But I still had the energy inside of me, rolling around. I also had plenty of time to let it dissipate without anyone being around to catch it.
But imagine how many times we all are carrying around anger and frustration, with nowhere to aim it, and it becomes misplaced. We take out our frustrations and anger on those closest to us (emotionally and by vicinity), even if they had nothing to do with it. That is misplaced anger.
When that happens, the misplaced anger finds a target, fair or unfair. Then we start justifying the anger at that person. While waiting in line to rebook (if this happens to you, call reservations. Trust me. It saved me an hour in line), I heard person after person take it out on the customer service folks. They had nothing to do with the weather, but they sure caught the frustrations!
Too bad we are less prepared to simply let go of anger that is misplaced. Too bad our wiring tends for us to hold onto that energy, looking for a target. That is how our biology and our brain works.
Good thing we have a mind that can keep working to find calm and to let go of the anger! Good thing that we get to choose our response!
During the trip, my daughter texted me and asked how I was doing. I told her that I was choosing to be aware that I was where I was, there was nothing I could do, and that I was OK with that. She asked me how that was going. I told her that every once in a while, I actually believed it!
Being angry or frustrated is not the problem. The problem is when we allow those feelings to be misplaced, and it causes harm to relationships we treasure. Next time you find yourself frustrated by work, traffic, whatever, remember to pause and make sure you are aiming at the right target!
More marriage saving information can be found in my ebook, SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE HERE.