An Unwelcome Outburst

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

16 September 2021

An outburst is defined as a sudden release of strong emotion. Have you ever been on the receiving end of other people’s outbursts? I have. Have you ever wondered why you had to come across those people in the first place? I have. Have they ever blamed you for their own uncontrollability? Yup! Me, too. Those moments can leave me in a funk. Some level of my conscious will remain lost, simply mulling over the experience.

Now What?

In former parts of my life’s journey, being the absorber of someone else’s outburst would make me question myself. What did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening to me? What can I do differently, so this doesn’t happen again? It can become a terrible preoccupation. But I’ve evolved to thinking about how I can keep myself grounded. The words and energy being directed towards me may still sting and even linger. But my preoccupation is more based in accepting the circumstance and learning what I can do next time to absorb less of the negative energy directed at me.

Mental Exercise

As Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, reminds me, “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Strength. That’s what it takes to get past these moments. It’s not fair and it’s not right. And, frankly, we shouldn’t be exposed to certain people’s outbursts. But we can’t have power over these outside events. We can’t control the world around us.

But we can become resilient to the outbursts and simply assume they’ll return. We can find strength within ourselves and learn to overcome them. We can admit to being powerless and try not to let the words and energy of other people’s outbursts change us. Their outbursts are their issue. But our issue becomes how we find the strength to handle it.

Work At It

Psychotherapist and best-selling author, Amy Morin, is quoted as saying, “There will always be obstacles and challenges that stand in your way. Building mental strength will help you develop resilience to those potential hazards so you can continue on your journey to success.”

And strength – whether physical or mental – doesn’t come to us without practice and training. We won’t wake up one morning and suddenly have huge biceps. And similarly, we won’t wake up one morning and have the uncanny ability to reflect other people’s outbursts. We simply must keep pushing forward and increasing our resistance little by little over time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was mental strength.