by Annie Nicol, MSW, LSW
Have your ever caught yourself in an incident of road rage first thing in the morning? Perhaps you’ve snapped at someone in the grocery store line or been unnecessarily harsh with your kids. Chances are, there was something else going on in your life that made you react that way. On the way to work, you were nervous about your afternoon meeting. In the grocery store, you were late to pick your kids up from school again and felt that you would be judged by other parents. Maybe you had been reprimanded by your boss at work earlier in the day which resulted in being frustrated and taking it out on your children.
We relate to our environment and the people in it through a lens of overall well-being. There are many factors that can affect our well-being, such as relationships, stress level, physical and emotional health, and feelings of competence at our workplace or school. If one of these factors is out of sorts, it can and probably will affect one of the others.
Self-assessment is a useful tool that allows us to look at each of those main “factors” in our lives and deal with them individually. In the situations described above, if the antagonizing event or situation had been coped with appropriately, there would be less frustration in other situations.
This is where self-assessment comes in. We all have difficult days, and behaving badly makes us feel even worse. When you find yourself having a particularly rough moment, stop yourself before you enter a new situation. Do a quick self-assessment to gauge your overall wellbeing;
What has made me upset? What is the exact cause?
Does it have to do with the people I will be seeing next?
How can I respond appropriately to the people around me?