Throughout my life I’ve been focused on training myself to respond (mindful reply) instead of react (emotional reply); but what if my mindful response still triggers an emotional reaction?
These are four things that I have learned when my loved ones get upset with me:
1. Don’t take their reactions personally: People react because they don’t know themselves. They haven’t figure out yet that the reason they are bothered by our response is because there is an unresolved emotion within them that is seeded in the past.
It takes a conscious effort to stop a reaction. Not everybody is willing to do that, and that’s okay.
2. Remember that you don’t have to defend your point view: When a loved one reacts, we naturally want to correct their misinterpretations in order to clarify our point of view. This inevitably puts us in a defensive position.
If we don’t take it personally, and listen and observe instead, we will be giving the acceptance and compassion that they’re seeking but cannot realize yet.
3. Take your time to respond: It’s only natural to feel confused in the midst of a reaction.
Allow yourself to feel that and any other boiling emotion in your chest. Remember that is okay if you cannot find an answer right away, that you have the right to request a pause and leave the room if necessary. Even though it might look impolite or rude, you’re being considerate by choosing not to feed the reaction.
4. But forgive yourself if you react negatively: As humans, we inevitably experience emotions beyond our control. At times we might catch ourselves before reacting, but it won’t always be the case.
What’s more important is to develop the patience and compassion toward our own process of self awareness. It is the only way to liberate ourselves from repetitive reactive patterns.
“Happiness is not an emotion, it’s our natural state of being.”
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Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Steven Shorrock/Flickr