A week ago, someone I hold very dear in my heart called to ask for my advice. Apparently, she is angry all the time and wanted to know what she could do to stifle the impulsive desire to lash out all the time. Rather than tell her the truth of how some of us are angry all the time and do little if anything to squash the desire to smash things, I told her there was something she could do.
It was the very something I’ve been doing for the past 10 years. An idea taken from a movie that made an impact in my life way back then. I told her that whenever someone made her angry, she should throw her head back, laugh a little laugh and say something silly. My phrase of choice has always been “I never did mind the hiccups.” Well, I don’t know if she took my advice or not, but I thought I’d share just how valuable this little strategy is.
Imagine yourself in a heated discussion with a neighbor whose taken it upon herself to stand in the middle of the road and scream at the top of her lungs “If anyone has dog poop in their yard, it belongs to ____.” (Fill in the blank with your name). She’s screaming so loudly that people are starting to open their doors to see what the ruckus is about.
Imagine now how instead of charging her like a bull running through the streets of Pamplona, you relax your stance, pull back your shoulders, throw back your head, shake your hair and say in a throaty voice for all to hear “I never did mind the hiccups.”
Now tell me that doesn’t beat being charged with assault and battery and being dragged away in a squad car. Yes people, there is beauty in being able to disarm your opponent, adversary, nemesis, call him or her what you will, with a smirk, body posture and a couple of words. It not only keeps your blood pressure from skyrocketing, it soothes the soul.
I’m convinced that if more of us battled anger with silly words, we’d be happier people. There would be more laughing at others and less heart attacks. And when I say laughing at others, this works both ways. Because, not only are you laughing at the person who’s making you angry, anyone looking at you may be laughing as well.
How, you ask? Imagine this. Your husband has just turned on his heel and shouted, “No, I will not pay for yet another Coach purse only to have it meet its untimely death at the bottom of your closet.” (Not that I like Coach purses. I find them hideous.) But you get the point.
Back to the subject…as your hubby is about to turn and leave you standing in front of the Coach store, you use your “outside” voice to say, “I never did mind the hiccups.” As he keeps making his way to the parking lot, you follow in hot pursuit and like a parrot repeat, “I never did mind the hiccups.” As he gets in the car and flips you the birdie, you murmur, “I never did mind the hiccups.”
Fast forward an hour and yes, you are walking home, or trying to hitch a ride from any trucker headed your way, but you’ve managed to avoid a scene. You have not caved to anger and more importantly, you’ve given the people in the parking lot the chance to laugh their asses off. You’ve paid it forward. You’ve done your good deed for the day AND you’ve beat anger in the process. Who cares if you had to run half a mile after your significant other’s speeding car screaming, “I never did mind the hiccups.” The question is, who’s angry now?
Si, amigos, follow my advice and try it some time. All you need is your own catchy phrase and the courage to use it. Just remember, don’t use mine. Because if you do, well, I never did mind the hiccups.