Have you ever had the experience when you’ve spoken too soon and then it’s way too late to reverse what’s just been said? Do you regret how you handled that situation? Perhaps you were too reactive and responded in an emotional way?
Speaking with purpose and not from a place of reactivity takes practice and an awareness of Self. We have all had knee-jerk reactions to something someone might have said to us. We immediately interpret that as an attack on us and take it personally. What we do not realize is that by having these intense responses to someone, it speaks more about us than the other.
For example, if someone criticizes you and you immediately react, that says more about you than them. Why is that? The reason we react is because we already believe that criticism about ourselves and/or we have been criticized from a very young age and therefore we have a knee-jerk reaction. In therapy, we often say that 90% of what happens today has to do with the past and 10% with the present.
Your emotions are important, and they are valid. However, if you resist them, they will persist. Whenever we have an overly emotional response to something, it is an indicator that whatever that something is has yet to be resolved within us. Working through these feelings gives us an opportunity for growth, self awareness and self reflection.
When we learn to identify our triggers we are then able to regulate our emotions and responses to others. It is always best to feel our feelings, but control our emotions and reactive behaviors.
Learning to do this takes time, practice and awareness. A good guide is to become aware of your bodily reaction. Where do you feel it …? Is it in your chest? Does it feel like you are about to burst? Any response that can illicit such a strong reaction is worth examining and looking inward rather than blaming someone else.
On the flip side, remember that what others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you see other people as they are without taking it personally, you can never be hurt by what they say or do. Knowing yourself and understanding your own triggers eliminates a lot of unnecessary pain.
Next time someone says something to you that causes you to have a plethora of feelings, train yourself to first pause and think it through rather than feel it through. This exercise will enable you to give yourself some time before you say anything without purpose. It will also help you identify the true meaning behind your intense response.
At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Ave., Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we are seeing clients via Zoom, FaceTime or Phone. Please call us at 908-322-0112 or visit us at www.hellenictherapy.com or on FaceBook.