Note to self…(because sometimes we all need a reminder!)
Something I have experienced in my own life and that I see over and over again with my clients is the habit of reacting to an experience rather than responding to it.
Let’s use an example to illustrate this.
Your boyfriend / partner / husband calls to say he is working late. At first you’re ok with it. You get it. He is busy. You even feel empathy for him because you know he’d much rather be home with you. Time ticks on, he’s still not home. You experience a twinge of familiar discomfort. Your mind starts to tease you with mean thoughts that suggest that maybe he isn’t working. Maybe he’s up to something else. Maybe he isn’t being truthful. You push those silly thoughts to one side. You know they’re not true. Then you call him, just to see how he is doing (ahem….be honest, you are checking up on him!). He answers his phone but it’s hard to hear him – there’s a lot of background noise. He’s at the pub. He just finished work and grabbed a quick beer with a colleague to decompress from a harrowing, stressful day. He will be heading home in 10 minutes.
YOU. GO. NUTS.
The truth of the situation was that he did have to work late and he did need to decompress with his colleague because they’ve had a terribly stressful week. He deserved half an hour with a beer and a mate. And you ‘know’ that!
You chose to react to this scenario based on previous life experiences and events. Perhaps you witnessed your Dad lie to your mum and equated that with meaning that all men lie. Perhaps you experienced an ex-boyfriend cheating on you and again you gave that a meaning that all men cheat and can’t be trusted.
You reacted to this situation by relating it to past, unhealed and unforgiven events. You caused yourself and your partner pain and upset as a result. You brought past events into your current life experience, tarnishing the goodness that you have now. The experience was shameful, embarrassing and exhausting.
Had you chosen to respond to the situation, it might have looked something like this….
A conversation with your man when he got home –
“Darling, I would like to share with you how I felt when you didn’t come straight home from work tonight. I felt nervous and scared that you had lied to me because I have experienced that in the past. I was afraid that you didn’t care about me because I have experienced that in the past. I made myself feel so anxious and upset and I don’t want to do that to myself anymore. I love you and trust you and I know you love me! I know this is my ‘stuff’ however I would so love your support as I heal this. Please could you let me know if you are going to be later than you said you would be – when you communicate with me I feel so taken care of. Thank-you.”
Vulnerability and honesty go a long way! It’s likely that a conversation like this will bring you closer together and create intimacy. You have shared your imperfection with the man that loves you. He can now understand you better and he can step into his role as the masculine to support you.
When we react to life based on past experiences, we are missing the chance to heal those past experiences. Instead we are choosing to perpetuate the pain and suffering of those experiences by bringing them into the present, giving us more ‘evidence’ that we are damaged in some way. (which is not true!)
We always have a choice whether or not to react or to respond. Sure, when we are triggered (because there is something there to be healed) it can feel really hard to respond. The pull to react is SO strong! I invite you to love yourself enough to notice when you are triggered and choose a way to respond to the situation. Be in the moment. Be present to what is happening now. It has nothing to do with the past. It is however inviting you to heal your past.
And, if you need support, you know where I am!
Your Self-Love Coach, Katie xx