Everyday we interact, us human beings.
We make eye contact. We talk on the phone. We exchange emails. Sometimes, we even talk in person - gasp!
These interactions can go quite well most of the time. This is how new friendships and relationships are formed. But sometimes, these interactions leaves you scratching your head and saying “what just happened?”.
Your head starts swarming with questions like - what did I do, what did I say, did I say something wrong, did I not say something at the right time? The ego is firing on all cylinders focused on self-preservation. The mind is creating dozens of stories, potential outcomes, theorizing and strategizing next steps.
All in about 60 seconds.
Meanwhile, the heart is beating a little faster, maybe you can even feel your body heating up. This my friends is stress, often brought on by improper communication.
Stress comes into our lives through verbal and non-verbal communication. Despite my best efforts to communicate clearly, I have to admit there have been times in my life when I entered that phase of “what the he!! just happened".”.
The “old me” would have gone through the stages listed above probably resorting to some binge of Netflix or Ice Cream. wallowing in regret, despair, longing for a return to normalcy.
But, the new me, relies on a slightly different strategy that looks something like this:
One, we must breathe. This is the only way to stay truly anchored in the present moment and not allow ourselves to be sucked into the vortex of the ego and mind.
Two, we must remember that someone’s response to us is never truly about us. Their response is all about them and the experiences they have had up until this exact moment.
Three, no matter how compelling your communication or language might be, a majority of people lack cognitive flexibility. In fact, the more you try to convince someone of your point of view the more they stick to their own.
Four, we must learn to find a pause, especially when faced with conflict. It is this pause that can make all the difference in how we respond, the ripple effect our response has on the greater world.
Five, we must strive to respond in a way that minimizes karmic backlash and drama. The world has enough drama, I, and you, don’t need to add to it.
Six, saying nothing is perfectly acceptable. Its only the ego that needs to make a point or be “right”. If you must say your peace, speak it and be done. No need to get defense of make sure the other person agrees or responds to you.
Sadly, we can never know what is going to trigger someone. One side could argue that we must walk around on egg shells careful not to disrupt the status quo. But others, can easily argue that you have to shake things up once in a while. I think it is possible to find balance.
We need to be impeccable with our word, as the writer Don Miguel Ruiz says.
At the same time, we can’t be attached the outcome of everything we say or do as long as we are acting in the most authentic and honest way..
Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Word.