April 21, 2015

Is It Necessary?

On some planet, my tiny garage is considered two-car. I don’t know what two cars could fit in there, except maybe a couple of Hot Wheels. When you add in all of our stuff, it’s a tight fit for just...

On some planet, my tiny garage is considered two-car.

I don’t know what two cars could fit in there, except maybe a couple of Hot Wheels. When you add in all of our stuff, it’s a tight fit for just one car.

As I was reversing out of my micro-garage last week, headed to a work lunch, I carefully checked my mirrors to avoid hitting anything. When . . .


What?! I know I was clear on both sides, so what was that noise?

I stopped and got out of the car to find our push mower next to my car. Matt had moved it from the shed to the garage without me realizing it. There was a two-foot-long black mark down the side of my car.

Within seconds, I was enraged.

Are you kidding me? Why would he leave that right there? He knows how hard it is to back out already! Now I have a huge black mark on my car!

I went stomping in the house extra dramatically (even louder than my natural, everyday stomp-walk).

“Did you move the push mower into the garage?!” I asked exasperated.

What a ridiculous and passive-aggressive question. Of course he did. How else did it get there? Our dog didn’t move the thing.

“Yes, sorry, you can move it wherever you want,” he said, as calm as he always is 24 hours a day in any situation.

“Well, I just hit it because I didn’t know it was there! Now there’s a huge black mark on my car!” I yelled as I grabbed a rag and stomped even louder out of the house.

When I got to my car, I flailed around trying to scrub the mark off with the rag, hopefully in his line of sight through the kitchen window. I wanted him to feel extra guilty before I left for my lunch.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, I am very embarrassed about how I behaved.

It was not a big deal, and of course it was not intentional. But by the way I acted, you would have thought he purposely planted the lawn mower in my path to sabotage my day and destroy my car.

I’ve been known to overreact a time or two, and even though I apologized to Matt later for how I acted, I want to behave better going forward.

So recently I’ve started asking myself a question to help me chill out and calm down when I start to get critical. I ask: “Is it necessary to get mad about this?”

What’s great about this question (like the other questions I ask myself in order to behave better) is that it answers itself.

Of course it’s never necessary to get mad. I may want to. I may feel like I have a right to. But it’s not necessary to.

And when I’m forced to answer no to this question, it pulls me back from the edge and right back in line. It helps me react rationally, which is not something I’m always great at.

So the next time someone makes you mad, messes up or lets you down, ask yourself, “Is it necessary to be mad about this?”

When it’s not (and it almost never is), the only thing you’ll be left with is a calm, rational response. And that’s something most of us could use more of in our lives—most of all me.


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  • Jodi says:

    I wish I would of read that earlier today, because I got mad at a co-worker today, however I did not express my emotions to that person instead I went higher and express my “feeelings” about the whole issue. I like what you said “is it necessary to get mad about this?” I really need to remember this question. Thank you Jodi PS and other peoples choices do not reflect who I am.