My father was not a man with a boisterous response to any situation. I think the one time I heard my father curse was when I entered a dancing competition at age 7 and the 1st place was given to someone else. I walked away with the 2nd place ribbon and prize. He was livid. As he ushered me to his truck for us to drive home, I felt disappointed but somehow his energy overshadowed mine and I ended up feeling like I should comfort him. That is how he was, you will feel what he is going through, but he accomplished expressing it insightfully.
I did not possess my father's traits; yet.
In any home with teenagers, you may lose your snack, drink, whatever food item if left unattended; it becomes fair game. One morning I found my milk container open (we all had our own) and the contents almost all gone. I did my investigation and deduced that my sister was the culprit. It was usually an act performed skillfully by my brother, but in this instance, she got me. Got me really good because I was fuming. It influenced the trajectory of my energy for the entire day. I, as we say, "let her straight have it." I was incenced! I screamed at her and we argued with unrelenting vigor. It developed into something so overwhelmingly intense, it lasted for the entire day.
That evening I explained my 'dilemma' to my father. He got a full description of what was done and said throughout the day. I felt sure that my sister was going to be punished. She was scolded and reminded about boundaries, but I think I was the one learning more in the scenario. After he spoke with her, he calmly said to me "Monique, don't lose your righteousness (rights) by overreacting." It meant nothing to me then, because I felt justified in all that had occurred that day. I was the victim, I was irate, I was out for justice, and it was my right to be mad. However, though he validated all my emotions, he repeated what he had said before. This time it resonated with me. I recognized I had lost a whole day of joy with my sister, a whole day of laughter, a whole day of so many other positive things. Why?... that moment, in the midst of me being right, I needed the world around me, particularly my sister to feel my anguish.
At times we experience human acts that cause discontent and disturbance. There are innumerable options of responses one can have towards it, and a reaction is justifiable. Nevertheless, if we go overboard and create a level of drama that truly isn't warranted, we run the risk of turning the situation into a dreadful overture. One knows they have overreacted because the outcome usually does not bring comfort. It would be like screaming shrewdly to a 2 year old who has dropped their sippy cup, only to dimish their spirit, watch them be morose for a period of time, and give them great pause when they have to deal with you again.
You are entitled to a reaction, but what do you truly gain from overreating? Is your righteousness intact? And if you sincerely evaluated the situation, is it possible, or even slightly probable that you caused yourself to lose more in the situation?
I am an advocate for self-expression, but what my father taught me that day is something we all can learn. Not every situation warrants a fight, sometimes, you can express yourself in such a way, that you not only maintain your righteousness but you get increasingly positive and pleasurable outcomes.