Discover Simple Ways To Defuse Any Situation.
Take a look at the incidents that come up unexpectedly in your life and find out if you tend to react or respond to them. Discover what the difference between these two behaviors are and how you can choose what is right for you.
Reaction is an automatic response taken in retaliation to something done or said. It is mainly based on past beliefs and behaviors along with your personal perception of the current situation. It happens without any real thought put into it. Basically, it’s a defensive position you take in a given situation.
To respond is a conscious choice that allows you to determine in what manner to handle the situation at that moment in time. It’s a way of being mindful of your actions as well as understanding the other person’s position. Being able to respond the way you would like, in any situation, alleviates resentment. This type of self-assured behavior allows for the making of a “Win-Win” solution.
Reaction is a defensive posture that generally closes off communication and understanding. Responding is very effective in keeping the line of communication open so each individual is able to express their concerns and develop a better understanding of the situation.
Many of us have experienced someone ‘pushing our buttons’ that trigger a reaction from us. Does a certain look or actions trigger you? Siblings may have made a game of it when younger just to see what we would do. Many of us obliged … and still do. By responding, rather than reacting, you will clearly make a positive impact on your life as well as others.
Let’s take a simple scenario and consider two possible ways for handling it. You’re busy trying to get something done and a child drops something next to you and it breaks. Would you:
—Get upset or angry with the child, complaining how busy you are and don’t have time for this nonsense. Scolding the child as they should know better and should not have done that. Lament that you always have to clean up the messes others make.
—Or, take a pause, realize accidents happen and that it wasn’t done on purpose. Make sure the child is okay. Discuss what happened, maybe what could have been done differently. This can be a powerful teaching tool for the child. Have the child help you clean up demonstrating taking responsibility for what happened. End the incident with a positive hug or a ‘thank you’ for their help.
The first scenario leaves everyone involved feeling upset by what happened and worse after how it was handled. The second starts with the same event, but leaves both the adult and child with a better feeling at the end, truly a win, win for both. Which one would you rather experience?
These 5 Simple Steps will guide you to respond in a more effective way.
1. Pay attention. Notice the changes in how you feel. There’s always tension with a reaction. It could be that your muscles tighten, maybe your fists, your lips, or your jaw. Your breathing may feel restricted or shorten.
2. Pause. Pausing to notice how you feel is a crucial step that puts the reaction on hold.
3. Breathe. Take a couple of breaths in and out, deeply, to relieve the tension. This also gives you time to think in what manner you would like to respond. You are responsible for whether you respond or react. This is the point at which you can make the choice to respond. If you have a couple of minutes, try the ‘Take 5 Technique’: Breathe in to the count of 5, hold for the count of 5, exhale to the count of 5, hold again to the count of 5. Do this 5 times.
4. Think. Take a few moments to give some thought to the circumstances. Consider who is involved, what happened and perhaps why. Then, contemplate the best way for you to respond for all to learn from the experience. Approaching it in this way can only help build better relationships with everyone involved and those who may be observing as well. These few moments gives everyone a chance to calm down.
5. Respond. Respond in the manner you have chosen.
There may also be times when something is said that is taken the wrong way or out of context leaving a person feeling upset. Another valuable tool you can use to defuse any misunderstanding is to notice when someone’s demeanor has changed. They may look down, away, or get tears in their eyes. Their attitude may change and get defensive or belligerent. How they talk to you will change. Noticing something has changed helps you understand that the two way communication has ended.
When this happens, simply say: “It seems your upset about something. It was not my intention to upset you. Please help me understand what I did or said that may have caused this.”
Wait for them to let you know why they are upset, and most of all — listen. You may be surprised to see just what they are dealing with that you had no knowledge of. Something you will discover is how very different people view things, it’s their perspective on how they see the world around them.
Appreciating our unique differences goes a long way to removing the walls that separate us and building the bridges to unite us. Using these simple steps can make a world of difference when dealing with the myriad of people in our lives. As we make the effort to better understand and respond to others in a more positive way, we realize when they feel better, we do too.
The words of Lao Tzu ring true here: “Do you have the patience to let your mud settle and allow the water to clear?”
If you find responding appropriately difficult to do, I am here to help you make the changes you want in your life. Use the ‘Contact Me’ button found on every page of my website.