On Staying Calm - About Glass Walls and Acting Counter-Intuitive

Jan 11 • Ilona Nurmela • Comments: 1

Conversations with people are great catalysts. So, pay attention to yours. :) Get inspired, get thinking, because if we are lucky, people tell us not what we want to hear, but what we need to hear when we need to hear it.

Today I had another conversation about getting upset and what to do about it. This is applicable in negotiations, mediations as well as in personal life.

As in yesterday's post about world views, let me ask you - do you need to do anything about it at all? I mean, you are getting upset at a situation in your life. Even if you think you’re getting upset at a person, you’re really upset at what they are doing or saying and how that is affecting you, aka because YOU are not being understood, because YOU are not being considered/included/romanced/___ (fill in the blank yourself).

Let’s break it down.

1. You are getting upset at what someone is DOING or not doing.

2. You are GETTING UPSET at what someone is doing or not doing.

3. YOU are getting upset at what someone is doing or not doing.

So, what can you do about it?

1. LIVE AND LET LIVE. Whatever someone is DOING - their behaviour is not who they are (see one of the previous blogposts). If someone is behaving badly, it doesn’t automatically mean they are a bad person. Yes, actions speak louder than words, but the badly behaving person may also be just reacting to something you said or something in their head. Whether someone is yelling/taking unreasonable decisions/being rude to someone/giving unsolicited advice - accept - and I know this IS difficult, but try - accept that the other person has a reason and a right to behave the way they do. Because our experiences, positive and negative examples in our life, everything and everyone we come in touch with shapes who we are. Whatever we - and the other person - does or says is based on a decision taken on the basis of our experiences, which are unique for everyone. The way we choose to react in any particular moment is the best decision we know how to make.

2. IMAGINE A GLASS WALL BETWEEN YOU. Yes, but what if they are yelling at me, and I can feel myself GETTING UPSET— you say. Imagination is a powerful thing. When someone is yelling at you - in a negotiation situation, at home or in the street - a visual aid (glass wall) is just a reminder that there is you and there is me and that at this particular moment in time we are not one and the same person, so if you are angry, then I don’t need to be angry. (Bear in mind that everything is interconnected, so while you are physically separate, the other person might actually be mirroring to you what you need to see in yourself and deal with.) After you’ve barricaded yourself a little, repeat after me - this is not my life lesson, but theirs, if I meddle, I will take away their opportunity to learn that lesson and responsibility for their life. Your life lesson might be to learn how not to react to things. (Which doesn’t mean you’re an unemotional robot, everybody has emotions and we like to have nice emotions, and it’s up to you to find a path back to feeling good, right? Or did you think you could delegate that task?)

If it helps you better (although this may lead you down the route of being condescending, ergo ego-trip), tell yourself that they don’t know any better. Because based on their unique experiences, they really don’t.

If you dare, try a level up - do the exact opposite of what you originally wanted to do. If you wanted to raise your voice, lower your tone and speak calmly. If you wanted to run away, stay and discuss calmly (except when your life is being threatened, then you run). If you wanted to hate that someone for what they said or did, mentally send them love - because the haters haven’t seen a lot of it throughout life, otherwise they’d be different people.

3. BE A GOOD EXAMPLE yourself. While YOU may not see the immediate effect your calm behaviour has on the person, rest assured it will. Sometimes people need to go away and think about what happened and who did what and reacted how. People usually admire those that can stay calm under fire (but if you do this to get attention, you’re slightly off the point here, see above about ego-trip). We are all superbly resilient mimicking machines, we adopt the behaviour that is the most efficient and sustainable. Yo-yo-ing your emotions in reaction to what someone else says or does - fun (but not for others) but not self-sufficient. Mimicking behaviour that helps you feel good and helps others feel good - that’s a win/win/win, if to use negotiation terminology.

This 3-step approach will let you escape the emotional reacting loop. If you don’t succeed at first try (empaths will definitely find this difficult at first) - then try and try again, because practice makes perfect.

And remember - we all learn from those we love. So what do your loved ones do, how do they behave in normal and stress situations that is worth mimicking?


Comments: 1

1
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