An off-hand Facebook comment that ordinarily you would have ignored or dismissed with a simple eyeroll, makes you hit the “unfriend” button so hard your pointer bleeds.
A sibling’s casual comment about an upcoming vacation feels like an unspoken taunt.
A child’s exuberance at the dinner table irritates you enough to snap and send him to his room.
In every situation, the little voice in your head assigns motivations and accusations that merely add to your stress.
What can you do about it? “VET” your assumptions: Verify … Engage … Transform.
Verify: “When you posted that comment about parents who allowed their teens to march in Washington this week being negligent, did you realize our church took a busload to the event, and they narrowly escaped having an accident? I’m so glad they made it back safe!”
Engage: “You’re going to a writer’s conference in Hawaii? Wow . . . that sounds like a dream vacation. Maybe I can join you next time! Are you bringing any proposals with you?”
Transform: “Sweetheart, I know that your focus medicine is starting to wear off. Let’s save the scatological humor until AFTER dinner. Now, if you’re finished, could you please start clearing the table?”
The “VET” approach breaks the emotional reaction and shifts the focus from me to the other person.
With whom are you going to play “VET” this week?