What to Do When Someone Pushes Your Buttons

When I was in grade 8, I was set in my teenager wardrobe ways. Daily jeans, hoodie, runners. No exceptions. But one day, I wore something else to school. I had been getting a bit interested in sewing and my mom had helped me sew a pair of capris. They were pretty cool with a Canada flag on the side pocket, but I was more than a bit uncomfortable to break out of my “usual” rut.

When one one of the boys at school saw me, his comment was, “What’d you lose a bet?”

In hindsight, that’s a jerk-comment that reflected more on him than it did on me. But at the time it hurt. A lot.

Why? Why would 5 words hurt so much?

Because I was sensitive to them.

They pushed my buttons, but the buttons were mine.

There’s probably a million things that push my buttons. Mouth noises, horn-honking, when someone gives away the end of a movie I’ve never seen, when people forget their manners, a hole in my sock, moles, and of course hurtful comments from others who don’t seem to give a darn.

These things rile me up, poke the bear, ruffle my feathers, and get under my skin. They push my buttons.

But the buttons are mine. 

None of these things can reach inside me and make me feel frustrated, angry, impatient, upset, or hurt. They just exist. But if I’m sensitive to them, I have a button. And they push it.

Our usual tendency when something pushes our buttons is to go after it, to make the thing stop pushing the button. We complain, change, and blame the button-pushers, the things outside of us. But we miss the point. We must go inside ourselves and fix the button.

Imagine that you ate ice cream and you experienced tooth pain. Would you go complain about the ice cream being too cold? Or would you go to the dentist to check out the sensitivity?

Of course you’d go to the dentist! It only makes sense. Quite likely the sensitivity is a sign of a bigger problem and you’ll be glad that ice cream was there to alert you to the problem inside your mouth before it got worse.

Challenge in life is nothing more than ice cold ice cream on a sensitive tooth. Normally, you can handle it no problem, maybe even love it.

Until you have a certain sensitivity that the challenge highlights.

Don’t complain about the challenge. Address the sensitivity. Find out what it’s all about, why it’s there, and discover the bigger problem that the sensitivity is pointing towards.

And then be grateful for the challenge that pointed you painfully in the right direction.

Here’s to Conquering Stress,

The Stress Experts

If you liked this, you'll love When Someone Hurts You, and When You Hurt Others.

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