I don't know about you, but lately I've been extra touchy.
Instead of seeing things clearly, I've been reacting to my minds projections.
This has caused some painful moments with some of my nearest and dearest.
If you've also been quick to tears or white-hot anger, let's agree to be extremely kind to ourselves.
Over-reaction is always a stress response—an SOS for immediate self-care.
It's a thing. It happens. And it happens to all of us, my darling.
Stress can creep up like those surprising pounds after Thanksgiving.
If you're not taking time (even mini-moments throughout the day) to regulate your nervous system, you're going to be more easily triggered.
And that stress tends to show up in our closest relationships. (Because let's face it, they're often the most challenging!). Even happy friendships provide the perfect petri dish for conflict and misunderstanding.
On a good day, people with very different wiring, backgrounds, viewpoints, and all sorts of emotional triggers, can get along.
But on a bad day? When stress levels are already high and self-regulation ability is low? When you haven't had sleep, or you're overloaded, or your hormones are raging, or you're experiencing sudden loss or grief?
The chances of emotional hijacking are high.
The human brain is hardwired to always be on the lookout for danger. That's why it's so critical and judgey. If something in the present moment reminds it of something that caused pain in the past, you'll feel UNSAFE and go into survival mode.
That's when old protective strategies show up.
controlling behavior—convincing, threatening, punishing others
avoidance—checking out, numbing, distracting, disconnecting, freezing, shutting down
helplessness—collapsing, giving up, wanting others to rescue us
Pretty much every expression of fight, flight, freeze, fawn, fix and flee there is.
Unfortunately, when we're in survival mode, we can't see our defenses for what they are because we're unconsciously taken over by them.
Things get trickier because of the quagmire of our personal interpretations.
The truth is, we don't respond to anything directly. We respond to our minds judgement of it.
If we interpret a comment as disrespectful (without checking our assumptions) we'll feel disrespected and THIS will become our justification for our response.
Plain and simple, if we feel attacked, we'll react.
This usually leads to an unleashing of grievances, a flinging of accusations, or a doling out of some kind of punishment. (Silent treatment, anyone?).
Terry Real, creator of Relational Life Therapy, teaches a better way.
He offers a great practice on how to speak your truth to someone when you feel wronged or are in a state of disharmony.
I love it so much I made a helpsheet to share with you. You can download it by CLICKING HERE
The gist is to GROUND before taking any kind action, then check in with the other person in a state of appreciation.
GET CENTERED IN YOUR HEALTHY ADULT SELF
CHECK IN WITH THE OTHER & USE APPRECIATION
Once you're out of attack-mode, you're ready for a conversation—but only if you use this template!
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED
THIS IS WHAT I MADE THAT MEAN
THIS IS HOW I FELT ABOUT IT
THIS IS WHAT WOULD HELP ME TO FEEL BETTER
Terry's guideline (I promise there's much more in the helpsheet) provides the important missing step most of us leave out when we react.
Did you catch it? If you didn't, it's step number two.
"This is the story I'm telling myself (about you) in my head."
Checking our assumptions is vital to deeper understanding, harmony and peace. If you blow up before you get to that part, go ahead and do it retroactively.
You'll learn A LOT. I certainly have and my relationships are stronger for it.
But please tread carefully. Do this work with a great deal of self-love and compassion.
It can be startling to discover you got it some of it (or all of it) wrong. That moment of truth can bring up feelings of confusion and shame.
Please remember the voice of judgement and blame is NOT the voice of the higher self.
You are precious. You deserve nothing but GRACE.
And so does everyone else.
Sending you so much love,
P.S. No matter how good a relationship is (or how much work you've done in your life) you're going to bump into any raw, hurt, and unhealed places that still exist within you. It's unavoidable.
That's the beauty of relationships. They push the buttons that need your attention. They reveal your flawed interpretations. If you embrace this, then a relationship (of any kind) frees you. It helps you do the work that needs to be done.
If you'd like a safe place to explore your pain points (and maybe take a peek at your unquestioned assumptions) the 2 Month Coaching Package gives us the space to do that in an unhurried way.
You'll get 6 1-hr sessions of 1:1 coaching + training with yours truly— someone who KNOWS what it's like to be emotionally hijacked and how to get out of that reactive state.
I'll give you relational + self-soothing tools (along with gems from my own experience) that will help you make big shifts in your relationship with others and most importantly, with yourself.