Cofrin Park

Cofrin Park
Cofrin Nature Park

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Handling Emotionally Charged Situations

     What to do when someone or some situation "pushes your buttons" and you dive right into reaction mode?
    Lets make up a doable scenario to help diffuse an emotionally charged event already in progress, with the intent of lowering the incidence of such events in the first place. The following "advice" I shared with a friend, and she found it very helpful in dealing with individuals who have PhD's in Button Pushing.

GOAL
    To put space between the problematic situation and how you feel about it. Interrupt your normal pattern of behavior, your habit of reacting, and take a moment.

ISSUE/EXAMPLE
    A life situation or person that you find causes you distress, anger, frustration or just plain drives you crazy, and you cannot immediately escape.  Naturally, you react instead of respond. Not good.

NEW RULE
    Not to worry. When feelings arise in you that you do not want, resist the urge to judge yourself or your situation. Judge not! Simply allow yourself to notice what is happening and what you are feeling. Embrace this awareness. It may happen in a flash. Befriend it. It’s all yours!

APPLICATION
    Make a game of it. Life’s a game. Create some phrases for yourself that will guide you into awareness and permit you to become a witness in your own life situation. For example:
   “Wow. I have become an expert at going into reaction mode when so-and-so does or says such-and-such. How interesting.”
    “I wonder how long I am going to let myself feel this way. Let me get the egg-timer.”
    “Interesting to think that I have let this external event control my inner peace. I know that only I can truly control my feelings and emotions. These so-called problematic events only have the power I give them.”
    “I am a human being who has been conditioned since birth. It is only natural for me to act according to my conditioning:  I instinctively push the autopilot button and let it rip. I sure learned my lessons well!”
    Any trick that allows you to become present and witness yourself will help you to become fully aware and conscious.

RULE
    Once you bring awareness into you situation, you become conscious and operate on a higher level. You have regained your power and will now better be able to consider your alternatives. You truly have the power of choice in virtually every situation. You know—you cannot control your environment/life situation, however, you can choose how to feel about it by choosing what it means to you. Change the meaning, and you change your life.

APPLICATION
    Consider your alternatives:
1. Stay in upset mode and just watch yourself go through the motions.
2. Remove yourself from the situation entirely. Go do something you like.
3. Create a plan for dealing with the situation or person before it comes up. When the chronic situation presents itself, put your plan into action. You will respond with dignity and integrity rather than react out of obsolete conditioning.
4. As you come from a more peaceful frame of mind, you will better respond to acute situations. You will respond with more imagination and creativity, thus diffusing the situation and calming your environment. You assertively deal with whatever comes up, or not, as you choose.

CONCLUSION
    Practice, practice, practice. Stay present. Allow for mistakes and times you just go haywire. Consider those situations/persons as your spiritual guides. These things happen for a reason. The reason may be that you have been given an opportunity to stretch and strengthen your spiritual calling—go for it!

HELPFUL HINTS:
    Realize that most everybody is doing the best they can with what they have got. "When you know better, you do better." --Maya Angelou. People are at different levels of development, including emotional, spiritual and physical. Remember to consider taking a “walk in their shoes” or “see through their eyes.” Practice empathy.
    Be grateful for the all that shows up in your life. Make a mental list of all the things, large and small, for which you are grateful. (Be grateful for all life and its tapestry of expressions and you’ve got it made.)

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