Wow, there is a lot going on in the world right now.
A lot of “right” and “wrong”.
A lot of polarity.
It’s easy to get attached to a position and defend it, and it may be very frustrating and upsetting when people do not see the world as you do and don’t get your point of view.
I have noticed that when I have a strong opinion on something, no matter what the topic, it’s easy for me to meet up with someone who thinks quite differently. The stronger my position, the stronger is the comeback from the other extreme.
Positions get set and hardened and the common ground disappears. No forward movement is possible – both parties are locked in.
So once you are in it, what is the best way to navigate through this stalemate without escalating anger?
First of all, you have to notice. You have to notice that you got triggered into an opinion that you feel righteous about. Being righteous simply means that you are unwilling to concede that there could be another way to look at it.
One of the realities of living in a world of duality is that as part of our everyday experience all expressions are possible and that they are on a sliding scale. The less reactive I am on a topic, the less reactive are people around me.
So, when I notice my reactivity, it gives me the opportunity to check in: What makes me so reactive? What am I afraid of? What’s at stake for me here? Am I going to lose love, security or control? Where in life have I felt like that before and had to hide it, was unable to work through it or had to suppress my desires?
Is this a familiar reaction that plays out as a pattern? I often used to experience it as feeling cornered with no way out and just having my wit and logic to defend my position. The problem is that when stress levels are high, my wit and logic disappear, and I am fumbling for the right words and feel self conscious about my inability to make myself understood. When I was younger, I would erupt in anger or leave the room in frustration with the unpleasant cartoon-like image of having smoke come out of my ears.
Over time, I have learned that I can take responsibility for my part in any interaction. De-fusing my own reactivity helps a lot.
Sometimes it is as easy as imagining 3 different people and asking yourself how they would view a particular situation. You start with something that is not such a challenging topic (i.e. no politics), but something you have a position on. Perhaps it is about what kind of diet is best to follow (lots of opinions there!) See your own position and now imagine a parent, a teacher, a friend and Oprah chiming in and offering their takes and perspectives.
Be open to listen and consider.
Allow yourself to see it from their perspective and notice that it softens your position. All of a sudden there is a bit more wiggle room around this topic. You may still have a preference and at the same time you can see and feel that there are other points of view that can live alongside yours. As a result, you may notice that your position feels more temporary, not so cemented in, that at some point you could change your mind and follow a different diet, make a different decision.
When you create that kind of wiggle room, you disconnect from the automatic trigger that always pushes you into a state of no choice.
It’s a great way to take action when you feel dis-empowered or helpless. Acknowledging your reactivity and transforming it, integrating it and connecting to your own responsibility within every life challenge will put you in the driver’s seat each and every time.
Are you willing to give it a try and see what happens?
Let me know in your comments below how this topic resonates with you.
If you find some challenges in creating this change in perspective for yourself, let’s have a conversation and explore how I can support you in making this happen. Go here to book a free 30-Minute Discovery Call with me.