They’re Your Buttons

In one of my graduate classes last week my professor made this comment: “Don’t blame others for pushing your buttons. They are your buttons.”

If we’re not careful we have a tendency to blame others for our thoughts and actions. “Well _________ just made me so angry that I couldn’t control myself”, we might say. Or, “I just had to give him a piece of my mind. He had it coming after all.”

While the decision to become angry and to negatively react to someone who mistreats us (or in general just rubs us the wrong way) is solely ours, it could be the case that we have stressors in our life that contribute to making it easier for those buttons to be pushed. If you find yourself becoming easily agitated, then here are some things to consider.

Try not to set unrealistic expectations of yourself relative to your time. Self-imposed stress makes it easier for those buttons to be pushed.

Let yourself off the hook. It’s okay to do something other than work–like have a hobby, play with the kids, or work in the yard. Too much time in the office is likely to make it easier for those buttons to be pushed.

Get to know yourself. You know what makes you tick. You, better than anyone, know what allows your buttons to be pushed.

Be flexible. Life around you is always changing. Learn when and where it’s okay to make adjustments. You don’t always have to be so rigid with your schedule. A failure to adapt at times can make it easier for those buttons to be pushed.

“Take heed to yourself . . . ” (Acts 20:28).

“. . . Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile . . . ” (Mark 6:31).

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself . . . ” (Matthew 6:34).

We all experience stress to some extent. Choose not to let stress make a mess out of you. Remember, they’re your buttons!

Neil Richey
Piedmont Road church of Christ
Marietta, GA

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