What pushes your buttons?


What pushes your buttons?

I have been on a journey of self-improvement for a long time, and I have come to accept and appreciate that it isn’t a destination at all but a lifestyle. I also like to read materials by authors with varying viewpoints. I believe I am open to different ways or viewing the world, as this also makes me more empathetic. As much as I have become more open and understanding of others and myself, there still are those challenging moments in life that are a test of my growth.

I recently made a decision about the changing the venue for a meeting at a club at which I am a member. I had thought that the club Executive would be able to weigh in on the decision before it was confirmed but in haste, they were not. I received an e-mail from an angry club President about not being properly consulted, that I found somewhat accusatory and even judgemental. I opened it up first thing in the morning, and I could feel a rush of emotions flood through my body. I was angry; I felt personally attacked, and I wanted to reply as quickly as I could hammer out a message.

I had my buttons pushed! These very buttons were produced over a very long period and were not the fault of the person that sent me the recent message. My buttons were carefully crafted over my lifetime and started taking shape in my childhood. My father was what we could consider “old school” and I grew up in the generation of children should be seen and not heard. I grew up without being allowed a contradictory opinion because if I did, the result was a raised angry voice every time. I grew up thinking that I didn’t have a voice or opinion that counted, and respect was not something I could come to expect from home. This upbringing also developed my view of myself and my place in the world. The results were low self-esteem, reduced confidence, and anxiety.

If there is one thing I have learned over my years of self-improvement is, Never reply to anyone in any form if you are emotional. Take some time to think about the motivation for the reply. By taking some time to reflect on my reaction and understand my underlying motivation and conditioning.  I once heard that if you wanted to test your level of growth, peace or enlightenment, then just spend some time with the extended family over the holidays.

I don’t believe I will ever get to a point where my buttons aren’t vulnerable which is completely fine, but through self-knowledge and self-reflection, I am much slower to react. I am now very interested in how I react and am less quick to judge it and empathetic to my challenges in life. Everyone we meet throughout the day is at a different point in their journey, and they are acting at their best at this moment for their level of personal growth. I have learned to show more kindness in my actions, and I would recommend you to do the same, both for others and yourself. Love is the answer and always will be.

-Arto Tienaho-


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