The next time you happen to pass a mirror, check to see if the buttons on the back of you are sufficiently covered and out of reach, and I’m not referring to the ones located on your clothing. I’m referring to the buttons that, upon being pushed, your eyeballs bulge, your blood pressure rises and steam bursts out of your ears. We all have one or more buttons that invariably get pushed when someone bumps into them, or perhaps knowingly and willingly pushes them. As an avoidance mechanism, some individuals have developed an early warning system that signals them when an irritating person walks toward them such as a boss, coworker, spouse, parent, in-law or nosey neighbor. Utilizing the hide and seek method simply isn’t effective enough in every situation, especially when you’re stressed, overworked and exhausted. At those moments, your button is glowing like the bat signal inviting anyone and everyone to the button pushing party.
Madisyn Taylor, co-founder and editor in chief of the Daily Om, describes this button pushing dilemma candidly when she notes, “Buttons are just soft spots that have been touched one too many times, and they symbolize some pain that needs to be acknowledged and healed. This may be a wound from childhood, or some recent trauma, that we haven’t adequately tended.”
The key element here is attending to the person being affected most, and that is you. First and foremost, analyze the feelings perpetuating your suffering as you work to resolve and heal your emotionally charged reactions. Once you stabilize your heart rate and blood pressure in circumstances involving your buttons, set clear boundaries for any further in-coming index fingers targeting you.
Taylor also warns, “If someone continually opens our wounds so that they never have time to heal, we are well within our rights to set a boundary with that person. Compulsive button pushers, who seem to find pleasure or satisfaction in hurting us, are not welcome in our personal space.” If you find yourself in unavoidable situations, respectfully withdraw yourself to another room. Remember, the button pusher is counting on a reaction from you. Don’t give them a millisecond more of your time.
Remember, freedom will come when you’ve addressed your sensitive button issues and switch off your automatic reaction to them. Think of it this way: imagine your compulsive button pusher erratically pushing an elevator retrieval button, but the door never opens. So sorry, so sad, too bad! No matter how hard they push, they’re not getting anywhere!
Originally published in the Bay City Tribune on January 29, 2017.