As she stood at the customer service counter of a well-known large home improvement store, her irritation level and anxiety sky-rocketed after waiting two hours for her order.
Carol thought she was just quickly picking up the large order of pavers for a new patio she and her husband were building and that her husband had phoned in two days before…
But the order wasn’t ready and no customer service employee seemed to be doing anything to get it ready!
She was over-the-top angry to say the least because this had happened to her at this store several times before.
Carol had been my coaching client for several months and had been seeing some new ease around her usual anxiety, especially in her closest relationships, but this incident really upset her.
As we talked at her next session, here are some things she realized about her anxiety…(shared with her permission)
1. When emotions are off-the-charts, you can’t see a solution
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with our emotions and acknowledging what we’re feeling in the moment…
We simply can’t see other possibilities when we’re blinded by overwhelming feelings.
And all feelings come from our thinking that we believe to be true in the moment.
Because Carol’s anxiety was so high, she couldn’t see an alternative to standing at the customer service counter and waiting for two hours for her order.
Looking back, she could see she was seeing life through her anger and that shut off any other possibilities for a better experience.
Her thinking told her that the order SHOULD have been ready because the employees had two days to fill it.
Her “shoulds” kept her anger stirred up and prevented her from allowing the anxiety that was building to settle–even after she went home.
2. When your thinking calms down, you see possibilities
As Carol and I talked, the anger that had re-surfaced when she told her story began to subside.
She began to see other possibilities.
She saw that she could order 5 days ahead the next time they need pavers for their project and then she laughed and had another idea…
What would be even better would be for her to just go to the store without ordering ahead, find someone to help her load her truck, pay and be on her way in half the time or less.
This was a possibility that she couldn’t see when she was mulling around in her mind how terrible the store was, how it always happened and how they should have treated her differently.
3. Life is easier and more peaceful when you see the source of anxiety and make a choice
When you see where your anxiety comes from, that it doesn’t help any situation and takes you away from what you want…
You can make a choice.
Maybe the situation that you don’t like is still there but here’s the choice you can make…
You can shift your focus to the field of possibilities and allow your thinking and emotions to settle.
Not always easy to do in the moment but…
When you do, ideas come to you that weren’t there before.
When you do, you see the next step that’s yours to take.
When you do, you see how life and your relationships are so much better when you see anxious thinking for what it is and that it keeps you stuck.