Reactivity happens when you don’t have conscious connection to the present moment. Next thing you know you are hijacked by negativity. But you hate the hate. You can’t stand the familiar core scene of negativity that creeps up on a regular basis. It is a noxious weed that you try to pull out and it grows back with greater strength and annoying characteristics.
You are not alone
I hear from so many people that they want less criticism, less reactivity, less negativity in their interactions with others, particularly their significant others.
Let me tell you, it’s entirely possible to enjoy less strife in your life! Seriously. Here’s the secret, if you get big in your reactions, contain yourself. If you get small in your reactions, expand yourself.
In other words, do the opposite of what you usually might do when you feel triggered. You gotta have awareness of what you normally do in order to do it differently. Trust yourself that you can handle life’s stressful moments differently.
Three simple steps
- Take a breath. Pause before reacting.
- Imagine what it is your partner truly needs in this moment.
- Notice: do you need to contain or expand to add to the safety of the exchange.
Invite curiosity now–Leave shame, blame, and criticism in the closet–Permanently
Here’s a visual that helps many people, myself included, understand their reactivity patterns, their habits.
Turtles: minimize their energy, they pull in to protect, it looks like shutting down but it is really self-preservation. Partners who see this, do whatever you can to create safety for your turtle. Speak less, speak more quietly, offer a loving gesture. If you get bigger, he will shutdown. Own your part in this exchange.
Hailstorms: maximize their energy, they push out to understand, to project their discomfort out of themselves in the spirit of trying to connect. Partners who see this, do whatever you can to mirror, validate and empathize with your hailstorm. If you shut down, she will get bigger. Be curious of how to respond.
Get curious and take ownership for your part in the nightmare
Do what you can to promote safety. From safety comes core connection. From core connection comes greater intimacy, positivity, and a sense of deep love and belonging.