What does it take to upset you? Did some thoughts come to mind? Good. Set them aside for a second. If we look into the origin of the word, we see it means “to topple” (as a verb) or “the act of toppling” (as a noun). If we apply common day usage, we see it is used to describe something or someone that has been thrown into disarray.
Expectations play a big part with being upset, or there being an ‘upset’; in sports, we use the word “upset” when the expected winner didn’t win. In 1919, at Saratoga’s Sanford Memorial Stakes, Man O’ War would lose its only race of its career. To whom? A horse named Upset.
But back to you. What do you let upset you? Notice that this time I framed the question a little differently; the key word here is “let”. What is it that happens in our lives that allows our happy-go-lucky demeanor to topple? Can a person be programmed to be upset, like we can program a computer to give a particular response when a certain stimulus is entered into the database? Upsets happen when we believe one thing is going to happen and then it doesn’t. Upsets happen when we are interrupted, questioned, scolded, or feel beaten. A lot of people like to say that someone “lost their cool” or they “got overheated” – same thing.
The unknown upsets us. Loud noises upset us. What do moms consistently say they want every Mother’s Day? A little peace and quiet.
In every one of us is a list of things we have put on our “happy requirement list”. Oh, in case I forgot to tell you, happy is the opposite of upset/unhappy. When we get upset, we believe we aren’t getting something that is required on our happiness list.
A few years ago, I came up with the acronym H.U.R.T. I believe that everyone is a little hurt; we all need to be H - Heard, U - Understood, R - Respected, and T - Taken care of. It’s a more complicated way to say that when we don’t feel loved, we get upset.
Here’s the catch. What if somewhere deep in your programming you believe you are unworthy of love? How upset at the world would you be? How many things would annoy you, topple your world? If you believe you aren’t worthy of Love, you will a) beat yourself up at every chance you get, and b) antagonize those around you so they will berate you, too. When we believe we deserve to be treated badly, we create a chaotic environment. We set impossible rules for ourselves and others to ensure we continue to get the feedback that supports how unworthy we believe we are.
Always upset? Always losing your cool? What conditions do you require in order to be happy? Write them down. Take a good look at them. How many of your “rules and conditions” can be broken by those around you? Why would you allow anyone or anything to upset you? Why would you give others that much power over you?
Do you want to stay unhappy, to stay upset? Good luck. Rage is worse than cancer. When you yell at the world for being unfair, you stick a dagger into your own heart. The world is nothing more than a reflection of how you feel about yourself.
If you’re mad at the world, it just means you’re mad at yourself. Cut the world/yourself a little slack and let it go. Whatever it is you’re holding on to, let it go and forgive yourself. Nowhere in your job description does it say you are supposed to be perfect.
Like in the book The Four Agreements, 1) be impeccable with your word, 2) don’t take anything personally, 3) don’t make assumptions, and 4) do your best. If you can understand that at your core you are love, the self-hatred melts away.
Want to stop being upset?
Love yourself a little more.