You don’t know why it happens yet it does. You see someone you dislike and your defenses rise up like a rocket. You can feel your muscles tense, your jaw tighten and words that want to erupt from your throat. Your emotional brain plays a huge role in how you remember your past. We know the more emotional you felt an event, the more likely you are to relive it with that same level of emotion.
My question to you is: how do you react when someone’s defenses get thrust in your face? Do you react negatively? Do you feel your blood pressure rise, your heart pound in your chest, your eyes popping out of your head and your hands instinctively reaching for someone’s neck? You are in a “fight or flight” situation, cortisol runs rampant through your brain and adrenaline rushes through your veins. This ‘episode’ lasts approximately 20 minutes.
Or do you handle the situation calmly, with steady breathing and rational thoughts? You have consciously stopped your emotional brain from going into a totally reactive state.
What is it about that position that you get defensive about? Do you feed off the other person’s emotions, knowing full well that you are locked in a negative embrace spiraling downward?
When you can break yourself free of this hypnotic state, ask yourself: Are you reacting purely to their words, or more to their rage? By doing this and changing your reactions — consciously altering your actions — you will stop that error chain and change the outcome of your interaction.
They key is to consciously alter your actions.
And remember, during these heated moments, it’s not what they said, it’s what you think you heard.