My Blog

Mirror, Mirror…

Have you ever used strong words that you didn’t mean, but did so in the heat of the moment? Or reacted to a situation in a way that you regretted after you had time to calm down and reflect? We all have had our share of moments we aren’t proud of, and this normally happens when our emotions take over all sense and logic. 

When we are overwhelmed with negative emotions, the natural thing for people to do is react. This can be because our feelings have been hurt, or if we think we’ve been treated unfairly, or if we have no control of a situation where we hold attachment to a desired outcome.
Although we may understand our own behaviours, can we forgive ourselves for the way we react? Most of us can justify what we do because we are aware of our own causes and the triggers. But what happens when the roles are reversed?
You are not unique in the way that you have past experiences (good and bad) and carry burdens of negative thoughts and events that shape the way we think, feel and act. What is unique is the actual thoughts and experiences you do have, and the way you interpret and perceive them. This ultimately results in your action, or inaction, to a situation.
When we are on the receiving end of someone else’s reaction to us, we tend to only see things from our point of view. Something that we may view as neutral may in fact be someone else’s trigger point. For example, when someone you know excels at something and wins a prize or gets special recognition, one person may feel proud of their friend and congratulate them on their well-deserved achievement. However, another person may feel a strong jealousy towards this person and feel that they never get noticed or recognised for what they feel they may deserve. 

Life is full of such situations, and no one will ever feel exactly the same as another, even though the actual event that took place is identical. We are all shaped by our past, our values and our personalities that then help to interpret our external events. And although we need to be aware of our own internal make-up, it’s also important that we understand that everyone is different. 

So the next time you feel a strong negative emotion, try to recognise this and try not to react in the way you normally do. This will be very difficult at first, as this is an automatic response that you may be conditioned to feel and do. However, take a deep breath and see that it is in fact a part of a pattern. And if you don’t want the outcome to repeat itself (like the same argument you have with your partner over and over again, or the routine fight with your child as they start to tantrum over the dinner table), then you need to change your approach. Recognise that if you react and do the same thing, then nothing will change and you’ll end up in a seemingly never-ending loop.

You are not the only one who feels pain and frustration. Once you can see this, then you may get the chance to break free of the negativity cycle and start a new chapter. It may seem impossible to think that the very person who is causing your pain to be a victim, but if you can remove yourself from your emotions and put yourself in their shoes, then things start to change. This doesn’t mean that they are right, or that you are wrong. It just means that there are many different ways to view the same thing. So if you dig your heels and wait for everything to change around you, be prepared to wait a very long time, and to hold on to the hurt and resentment that will only harm you in the long run. Or you can choose to see things from a different angle, and make the first move to a different (and possibly better) outcome. 

What will you choose? It’s your move…