5 Tips for Unsticking the Inadequate ButtonThere are times when we encounter others who just “rub us the wrong way.” Have there ever been times in your life when others would say or do something that gets “under your skin,” or as I like to say, “pushes your button?” The kind of people that irritate you every time they speak, or certain actions that just leave you feeling like you want to scream and pull your hair out?

Some things or people may not push your buttons that hard. Some just cause you to feel minor irritation, or give you that roll-your-eyes feeling.

Whatever the case, have you wondered why these actions or behaviors push those buttons? Better yet, do you know what those buttons are?

Recently, I’ve had my “inadequate” button pushed. Usually when that one gets pushed, it gets stuck, and it takes a long time to become “unstuck,” and everything around me seems to reinforce that feeling. I have, however, learned a couple valuable lessons and reminders from my recent experience. I will share some with you:

  • I am good enough. I just need to remind myself of that daily.
  • At times, the “it’s-not-me-it’s-you” attitude can be helpful.
  • I do not have to absorb other people’s insecurities.
  • Weak people need to hit you behind the knees in order to gain strength for themselves.
  • When you do the best that you know you can, that is what matters.

What are some ways to cope with “button-pushers”? Here are a few things I have learned from my own experience:

  1. Acknowledge it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Be aware of your buttons!There are times when we just have to be honest with ourselves and admit that the situation we are in, or the feelings we are experiencing, place us in a lousy spot. We can’t deal with something until we have named it. Name your bad situation!
  2. Be willing to talk to someone about it. Not just anyone, but someone who is positive and at the same time, someone who you trust for good advice. Nothing sinks you further into the depths of emotional hell than talking to a “Debbie Downer” or that “Negative Nancy.” Some people never have anything positive or uplifting to say!On the other hand, we do not want to reach out to those who will take your situation and turn it into theirs. You know, the people who like to say “ugh, you think that’s bad, let me tell you about what happened to me!” This is not the time to be ignored or minimized.
  3. Journal.There’s nothing better than writing down our thoughts and feelings and being able to reflect on them a couple of days later. It helps us observe our growth and find simple lessons. I will forever sail on the ship of journaling. It has personally rescued me from negative emotions and allowed me a nonjudgmental space to just let my thoughts and emotions flow. I trust my journal because it is a true reflection of my feelings, and it provides me with the forum to vent.
  4. Think about why the button that was pushed made you so uncomfortable. I have learned that many times, the things that others do that irritate me are the things about myself that I am either working hard not to be or am struggling to change. Be mindful of your emotional reaction to others’ behavior. I have discovered that it teaches you a lot about yourself as well.
  5. See what you can change to make yourself emotionally healthier. I love teaching my clients about being honest with themselves. It is important both for their relationships with others and with themselves. Honesty with self, I have realized, is a bit more challenging than being honest with others. We try to fool ourselves into believing that things are not as bad as they are, or add more to the situation than is necessary. Sometimes the best way to deal with our character defects is admitting that we can do something to assist the process of change, and that it does not have to be someone else’s responsibility.

Having said this, I am challenging myself to keep these things in mind next time my “button” is pushed. I will challenge myself always to find the positive in negative situations. Most important, I will try to remember that it is okay to have a bad day, because it makes the good days even better!



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Feb 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Callender, K. (2013). 5 Tips for Unsticking the Inadequate Button. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/13/5-tips-for-unsticking-the-inadequate-button/


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