Responding Versus Reacting
When was the last time you had an argument or heated discussion with someone? How did it go? Did you respond or react? I try my best to be kind in all of my communication, but when I’m triggered - it’s not easy! Can you relate?
The worst part about “reacting” is that we can hurt the people we love. I’ve found that it takes a lot of practice to respond versus react when I’m triggered. The more committed I am to my self-care, the easier it is to be loving with my words. I have a greater perspective, more patience and I don’t take things personally.
The next time you’re triggered by what someone did or said, here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful:
Pause - take a deep breath and count to three. This can help you get control of your emotions and see the situation more clearly.
If you’re still upset, Excuse yourself from the conversation and let the person know that you need some time. You can take a walk, go for a drive or simply go into another room. After you’ve cooled down and collected your thoughts, you can continue the conversation from a more loving place.
Take nothing personally. Here’s a great quote from the author of The Four Agreements;
“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally... Nothing other people do is because of you. It’s because of themselves.” Don Miguel Ruiz
I’m still working on this one. When I remember to not take things personally, it’s a game-changer... I feel so free!
At the end of the day, we all want to be understood. It can be so frustrating when you are trying to communicate your point of view and you or someone else is reactive; the conversation gets nowhere. It can leave you feeling confused, hurt, and alienated from someone that you care about.
Life gives us many moments to practice responding versus reacting. A great way to really understand a trigger is to spend some time exploring what got you so rattled. This is not about beating yourself up, it’s a chance to get curious and examine what provoked you. I’ve found that when I get to the root of one of my triggers, there is an old wound or limiting story that I’ve been telling myself. The more awareness I have, the less likely I am to react in the future. It’s also an opportunity to practice kindness towards myself and a chance for healing.
With the current climate of our country and world, our words matter more than ever. The more compassion and understanding we can have towards ourselves, the more we can extend those qualities to others. It’s a win-win all the way around!