what do our overblown reactions reveal about us?

words & design by brian thompson. 

have you wondered what our overblown reactions might reveal about us? simply put, they reveal a truth about ourselves that we’re often afraid to admit.

it’s scary being confronted with the reality of your suffering.

in that moment, you’re not only confronted with all the pain you’ve endured, but also with all of the work that now needs to be done. it’s a frightening realization, even more so when a person realizes their pain has been self-induced all along, and that its cessation has always been entirely within their control.

most people run away from the true source of their problems when they see it staring back at them in the mirror — it’s shocking to realize it’s been you all along. it’s a moment filled with shame that many refuse to accept, resorting instead to finger-pointing, frustration and blame.

i see this happen every day, disguised within people’s overblown comments — more importantly, i’ve also been witness to this within myself. i too, deluded myself for many years, blaming all of my unhappiness on everyone around me — everyone but myself.

people often respond with anger and vitriol when their pain has finally been exposed — it repulses them to know the truth — even more so when they’ve they’ve realized it’s been their own doing all along. their anger betrays them however, tricking them into thinking that no one knows best but them, but if that were true, their pain would have healed long ago. instead, it persists because they choose to resist.

when the truth behind our struggles is rolled out in front of us, our wounds become open, sensitive and raw.

in this moment, we become our most vulnerable; possibly even reverting to a childlike response filled with outbursts of rage, anger and contempt. we grieve for our loss of innocence; we didn’t realize our gross negligence, and it not only shocks us, it embarrasses us. we grieve for the part we've played in creating our pain — and it’s damn hard to accept too.

this grief, the one where we realize we’ve been our own worst enemy, is just like any other; it has five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

so when it comes to all of the gritty and tough inner work we need to do on ourselves — spiritually, emotionally and behaviourally — we all undergo this same process, to varying degrees. but if we want to cultivate goodness in our lives, this is the tilling of our soul that’s required. in order for new seeds to germinate and grow, we must dig up our dirt, bring it to the surface and expose it to the light of the sun.

what stage are you currently in?

maybe you’re still denying you have a pain that needs healing.

perhaps you’re angry that your loved ones might expect more from you.

maybe you’re still bargaining with yourself on how you can continue making a four hour daily commute, while somehow not negatively affecting your life at home.

perhaps you’re depressed because you can’t imagine living your life any other way, even though you know change is imminent and inevitable.

maybe you’re on stage five, where you’ve already accepted the reality of your circumstance and you’re finally doing something about it. you’ve accepted, taken ownership, have let go, and are now beginning the personal work that’s required of you.

as you begin to focus on your spiritual self, the inner work you need to do isn’t always obvious, so consider any unwarranted moments of anger you have towards others, for helpful clues on where you should begin.

what types of comments do you overreact to?

what types of behaviour make you mad?

what types of things make you defensive?

what negative or hurtful judgements do you unfairly cast upon others?

our overblown reactions point the way to the cessation of our pain — we only need to be receptive of the lesson they teach.

your answers to these questions will reveal where you are at odds with yourself.

our answers are always found within.