Why is it so difficult to not take things personally? It's because everything reinforces the sense that whatever is being said is indeed about us – both from without and from within. However, we can get better at not taking things personally with a practice of shifting our focus by being open to multiple interpretations, understanding that our reaction is about our own need, and noticing how the other person’s words, no matter how they sound to us, are an expression of their needs. We can then be more present and available to navigate the situation.
Most reactivity in intimate relationships comes from a lack of confidence in maintaining intimacy, autonomy, or security. What may help is naming what's happening, interrupting shame, and anchoring or reassuring yourself. You can also reflect on the effects of acting from reactivity. Knowing what helps center you, ask your partner to do or say specific things that might help. Read on for more.
In healing reactivity try identifying your most common complaints, wishes, or requests. Or when you tend to defend, justify, get angry, or protect. Find the tender needs. You can recall when you experienced deep nourishment of that need. Several times a week nourish your tender needs. Be clear about the strategy to address needs by answering key questions. Read on for more.
Trainer Tip: We often find ourselves slipping into old behaviors that we would rather change. This is because we don’t have a new plan for responding to the same old situations. In that case, notice whether you are slipping into old behaviors today. Connect to your unmet needs and then identify a new strategy for the situation.
In general, criticism is a reactive response discomfort. When someone criticizes, they are not yet able or willing take responsibility for their needs. All criticism is a tragic expression of feelings and unmet needs. When you meet that criticism skillfully you not only care for yourself, you can facilitate clarity, and constructive communication, about what the other person is truly asking for.
For each reactive pattern there is a perceived threat to a tender need. Knowing these tender needs helps us figure out how to interrupt these patterns and creating new ways of perceiving and relating to life. In addition to knowing the need, knowing the healing response and the primary reactive behavior helps with transformation.
During this session, Giorgos will walk you through a series of short, meditative practices and exercises designed to help you practice noticing, experiencing, and bringing shame to light — transforming it from a burden to a playful fellow as well as a portal to self-knowledge and internal freedom. You'll discover how the deep power of human connectedness can dilute the fogginess of sensitive issues, bringing them higher into your consciousness, and enabling the flow of life to pass right through them!
For this practice assume that reactivity is arising any time you are distracted and not enjoying something. Practice throughout the day by focusing for a few moments on something specific that you find pleasing. Notice the sensation of joy or pleasure in your body, and hold attention there longer than usual. This interrupts tension and contraction. Keep remembering to do this. When you go too long without directing your attention in this way, the practice becomes less accessible.
We each hold an internal model or set of expectations about how caring and comfort could be accessed in relationship. The ability to reflect upon and challenge our own dominant model of perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors --and to experience discomfort and vulnerability-- is a key feature of "security". If not, an "attachment reactivity" arises -- where sense of insecurity, separateness, and belief that love, and acceptance can't be trusted nor accessed reliably. Thus change would require intensive support. Here's a guide to help you reflect and access change.