Which me is reacting to you? (A guide to understanding tour reactions)

When Shrek told donkey that ogres were like onions he wasn’t wrong. We are all like onions we all have layers. No matter who you are on the surface today, there is layer beneath layer of your past and personality bubbling just under that surface. And sometimes these layers, these different versions of you, react to situations in your daily life without you even knowing it. Infact it’s often hard to know which you is responding to a situation.

This week I was fortunate to have a chance to peel back the layers in my life and wow did I get a shock. As I peeled back through different stories of my past I began to find parts of myself I thought long gone, were actually still there, large as life, and often influencing my reactions to people and situations in my now. It was an incredibly powerful experience and gave me a deeper understanding of myself and the way I interact with people. The biggest shock was although my grown up nearly 40 self thought I was in control it turns out that underneath the surface there is a frustrated teenager and a scared little girl who alternately react to the people in my life without me realising it. Once I recognised them it became so clear as to why I immediately begin to rage the minute a parental figure tries to interfere in my future plans and why it was that a person who represented consequences for me sparked off my insecurities. Completely unbeknown to me this little girl and teenager had been running a huge part of my adult life and my default reaction patterns came from me then not me now. Wow.

Now as you may know I am a big advocate of responding as opposed to reacting to things in life, consciously choosing rather than running on autopilot. So you can imagine my surprise at this new discovery. However it’s a great teaching, suddenly I am so much more aware of which me is trying to react to a situation, I can understand on a deeper level why things are affecting me emotionally and I feel so much more in control. It’s empowering.

Many of us have a struggle with reacting rather than responding. It’s partly due to our dna response fight or flight. However if we learn to peel back the layers and get to know the roles and dramas that lie inside of us, then we can learn to consciously take control of our emotional responses. With that knowledge we can begin to naturally respond to life’s curveballs. Obviously this is a HUGE journey of self discovery and cannot be covered by a quick how to guide. However if you would like to begin peeling back the layers of yourself then here are a few steps you can take to begin this journey.

Identify milestone versions of you

You need to look into your past and identify the main versions of you that are close to the surface. Look at how do you remember yourself as a child, a teenager, in your 20s, 30s, etc

Were there any significant events in your life that you remember effecting you. For me I had a specific photo as a little girl who embodies my memory of me as a child and an old beanie hat that reminds me of my very confused teenage self. Find these versions of you and give them a name.

Identify emotional characteristics of these versions of you

Now in a journal start to define these versions of you.Take each one and try to write some key words down emotions you associate with them. So for example my little girl was scared and desperately wanted to be good enough. My teenager was frustrated and angry, ready to defend herself at the drop of a hat. Write as many keys words or insights as you can for each of the versions of you that you have identified.

Investigate the triggers and reactions

Look at each version one at a time. Try to remember through free writing what triggers would be the catalyst for the emotional characteristics, and what  response this version of you had to specific situations. So for example with my teenager I could identify that when she felt disapproval of her she would react defensively, angrily trying to justify her actions, usually resulting in arguments with loved ones. My little girl would get scared by arguments because she thought they were her fault and so she tried to be good enough. If you have identified a lonely little boy you might discover that he would tease his sister at home when he felt lonely at school. Try and find the triggers and reactions for these versions of you. Don’t worry if you can’t get them all at once, baby steps is definitely the way here.

Compare the triggers then and the triggers now

Ok this is a little harder but incredibly powerful. Take one version of you. Look at the triggers you identified and now try and find a similar situation or a similar emotional response on your life now. I found that when me Mr T asked me why I did something a particular way it actually kicked off the “I am not good enough” feelings of my little girl. It is amazing the more you look into these triggers and responses the more you will see patterns emerging.

What next?

So now you have all this information what to do with it? This is now a guideline for you. You can look at your emotional characteristics and response patterns of the past versions of you, if you have unhealthy patterns then start to work out strategies that are healthy. I am now working on discussing my frustrations with parental interference with them instead of exploding behind closed doors. You may have discovered some unhealed wounds that are too big for you to deal with alone, if that is the case then please do seek support.  You may find that simply by having identified which you is responding to a situation that this makes you more conscious in your interactions with others. Each of us is different so what we do with this journey of self discovery is up to us.

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As I said before this is a huge journey and much bigger than I can cover in one article. However I hope that this gives you some inspiration to begin to understand the layers you have within you. For me this journey has been a wonderful exploration of myself. It has raised my consciousness of self to another level and is bringing a sense of peace to my life in areas I didn’t know needed it. And that in itself is a powerful healing. I hope that you enjoy this discovery process as much as I did

Enjoy your journey<3

Do not allowyour

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#Lifelessons101 – Arrgh! I’m surrounded by idiots – 3 emotionally intelligent ways to deal with the most annoying of people (3 min read)

 

You know life sometimes just seems to be filled with annoying people. Everywhere you go you meet someone who is irritating or unnecessarily stupid or even worse you meet someone and it is hate at first sight. Meeting annoying people or even someone who you instantly dislike is unfortunately something we have all experienced. (If you haven’t I commend you fine person please write in the comments how you do it because we mere mortals will be happy to learn your secrets.) It’s like that person in someway shape or form manages to get under your skin, irritate every possible nerve, conscious and unconscious thought. And why? Why do we have times where we meet people like this? Well it would be very easy to say the world is full of idiots and that’s that. However we all know deep down inside that’s just not true.

 

Whenever we feel a strong emotion (especially when it comes right out of the blue) it is the universe jumping up and down with a message for us. (Note to self: it must be friday because in my mind there is now a picture of the universe jumping up and down wearing heavy wooden clogs and screaming “Notice me!”. Next note to self: you are rambling. My apologies.) So what is the message that the universe sending you when you seem to be surrounded by halfwits and people that get under your skin?

 

This week the universe has been sending me irritating people and annoying situations by proxy. I have spent most of the week observing other people’s interactions going horribly wrong so much so that  I was becoming totally overloaded and also starting to be drawn into the drama. Until yesterday someone had a conflict and in helping them I reminded myself of three life pearls of wisdom regarding why other people can annoy us so much. In remembering these pearls I was able to step back from the drama around me and use this universal message to learn more about myself, grow a little and enrich my life’s journey. Now who would have thought that from being surrounded by idiots eh!?

 

So here are three easy things to remember that will help you in any situation, with any annoying person. The trick is remembering them and applying them.

They remind you of you

Whaaaaaaat ! ( I can hear you from here). Yes it’s true. Whether its the annoyingly slow person serving at the counter or that person you absolutely hate, the reason they annoy yo is because they remind you of you. But not the good part of you. They remind you of a bit of you that you don’t like. Especially with hate at first sight.

Have a look at the person you dislike or are most annoyed by and mentally describe that person and compare them to you. For example the bossy domineering, controlling person in your workplace is actually you when you are stressed and trying desperately to hold things together by bossing other people about.

This exercise is not easy but it is INCREDIBLY enlightening. It can identify hidden fears, negative self narratives or unresolved issues and by uncovering these unciousous things we become soo powerful.

It’s their stuff

Let’s face it one of the most irritating thing another person  can do is react negatively towards you. A tone of voice or a facial expression can be the catalyst for a personal feud lasting generations or (on a slightly more realistic level) a sense of irritation and frustration that follows you round annoying you for the rest of the day. Now wouldn’t it be great to be able to let go of that. You can. Basically you have to realise that it’s the other person’s stuff. Whatever the reason they reacted it is based on something in them, their personal world. It’s not your stuff it’s theirs. So let it go. We have enough of our own emotional baggage to deal with without carrying someone else’s.  

Remembering that it’s not your stuff not only releases you from your personal dramas it also has the added bonus of freeing you up to handle the other person differently which will make whatever the situation is better.

You can only work on yourself

The two realisations above can lead you to some very important personal reflection and growth. It is important to realise when it comes to other people you are not in control. You cannot help them to have the above realizations and respond to you and themselves in an emotionally intelligent way, that’s up to them. (Well you can ofc share my articles with them! However they might not have the same impact on someone else as they do with you).

What you do have control over is you. You can control how you respond to a situation. You have a choice. And it’s your choices that make that interaction with another person positive or negative. Now I hated the person who first told me this (for about 3 mins). However it’s a fact. We have the power in us to react or respond. To live in a world of instincts or to take control and look deeper within to understand and grow.

 

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When you use these thought processes in practice it frees you up to a whole new world of interactions with other people as well as a new level of self awareness and emotional intelligence. Try them out this weekend and make a mental note of how much happier you are to be around people that would normally drive you crazy, The world is only full of idiots when you’re stupid enough to allow it to be! It’s your life, your choice, so make the best choices for you <3

 

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