Dare To Live Without Limits Week Of 1/17/2022

Bryan Golden

Don’t let people push your buttons

When growing up, did you know exactly what buttons to push to get one of your siblings upset? Or, perhaps you were on the receiving end of emotional manipulation. You become conditioned to having your buttons pushed from a young age.
As you mature, you accept having your buttons pushed as a normal part of life. Button pushing can become so routine that you are not even aware it’s happening. Not only do you tell people what your buttons are, you encourage their being pushed.
You identify your buttons by your reaction when pushed. For example, when one of your siblings or friends does something you don’t like you make a fuss. Instead of stopping the offending behavior, you told them what really bothered you. As a result, others learned that they could push your buttons to get you upset.
To stop having your buttons pushed, start by identifying your buttons. You determine what happens when they get pushed. A great way to get someone to stop pushing your buttons is by changing your reaction.
When someone pushes one of your buttons, respond instead of reacting. A response is well thought out, whereas a reaction is emotional and kneejerk. When someone can no longer get a reaction, the button loses appeal.
You don’t need to react when someone else acts. It’s OK to not do or say anything. Especially don’t respond while upset or angry. Instead remain calm and allow yourself time to let your emotions subside while you decide on the best response.
Don’t take things personally. A person who tries to push your buttons typically does the same to other people. If you take things personally, your judgement diminishes. A personal attack is intended to get a reaction out of you so don’t provide one.
You only have control over your thoughts and actions. You have no control over what someone says, thinks, or does. Trying to change someone, or get even is a waste of time. Focus on taking care of yourself so that you don’t become embroiled in conflict.
Whenever possible, remove yourself from a situation where someone is attempting to push your buttons. Politely excusing yourself is the simplest way to prevent your buttons from being pushed. You have no obligation too allow yourself to be abused. As a fallback excuse to get away, excuse yourself to use the rest room.
If you can’t escape, change the topic. Or, you can say, “I don’t want to discuss this right now.” Practice steering conversations away from sensitive subjects. Don’t participate in a conversation you find problematic. You don’t have to answer questions or explain yourself. If someone asks, “Don’t you have anything to say?” simply reply, No.”
Set boundaries before finding yourself in a potential button pushing situation. Have a clear determination about what you will and won’t do. You are not a victim. Take an active role in ensuring your wellbeing.
People trying to push your buttons have their own issues. These are the result of their limiting beliefs, prejudices, opinions and generalizations. Don’t allow them to make their problems yours. You are not obligated to engage anyone in a negative interaction.
When deciding what, if anything, you should say or do, keep things in perspective. Whatever you do should make a situation better, not inflame it. Even when it might not seem warranted, treating an individual with courtesy and respect helps achieve the most positive outcome.
Don’t let people push your buttons and don’t let them know what your buttons are. Be aware of what’s happening around you. Don’t allow others to control your emotions. Life is more enjoyable when you are in control of your buttons.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2021 Bryan Golden


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