How We Appear To Others

Connections via FaceTime

Connections via FaceTime

Recently, I was talking to Chris on FaceTime and I wasn’t feeling in the best of spirits. I was annoyed and in a pissy mood. I was aware of it but wasn’t at a stage that I wanted to discuss it or where I was able to deal with it to make it go away. So I just thought that I’d put on a cheery face and fake it until I make it.

The connection we had was pretty poor, never helpful for communication even under the best of circumstances and moods. In some kind of cruel, karmic lesson, every word I said came echoing back to me.   Though I felt from my end that I was doing a good job masking my mood, I heard my snippy tone echoing back to me every time I spoke.

I always thought Chris was like a scent hound, picking up parts per million of mood even when I felt I was doing a good job covering it up. I still think he is. But probably equally true is that I’m not as good at that cover up or emotional self-management as I believe myself to be. Then I’m upset or confused when I’m called out on bad behavior when I’m trying so hard to be good.

And so it goes folks. It just doesn’t matter how well you think you’re covering your emotional tracks, your tone, selection of words, body language or energy is going to betray you. Not that you shouldn’t get brownie points for making an effort. Just don’t think you’re getting away with it.

Fortunately for me, I’ve gotten somewhat better over the years at resetting my internal stage. It’s still never as fast or efficient or effective as I’d like it to be, but at least I can do it in a matter of minutes or hours instead of hours and days. If I quit fooling myself into believing I can take a shortcut and fake it so that I can deal with it later, I can actually be more effective at managing my moods in a timeframe that’s helpful.

It’s just like doing my taxes or any other unpleasant task. I’m going to have to do it anyway. I might as well do it right up front instead of creating damage (like incurring late fees or additional paperwork) and fall out, which then gets added to that unpleasant task.

So here’s to a tiny bit less denial about my emotional management and hopes that I can do better the next time. And the time after that. We’re works in progress, after all. That effort to progress is the work that really matters.