From our coaching, I knew that the next time Larry received an e-mail with emotional overtones, he would be more inclined to look for the meaning beneath the words before reacting negatively to the anger he felt.
Larry was upset by the manner in which the comments were made. Yet by looking below the surface, he found that the behavior of his colleague was driven by her own emotional triggers. She was so concerned with protecting her position that she wasn’t thinking about how Larry would feel about her actions.
A clash of reactions wouldn’t help their working relationship. Instead, he opened himself to finding out what was really upsetting his colleague so he could stabilize the relationship, which cleared the way to seeing solutions.
What does this take?
First, it takes self-awareness so that you can clear your own mental clutter out of the way. You first have to stop the noise in your brain to be conscious in the present moment without acting on your feelings and assumptions. Only then can you clearly see the source of the reactions in others.
Before we go on, let me explain that what you are about to read runs counter to some therapies and self-help books where behavioral change is based on changing thought patterns: Change your thoughts, you change your behavior. This technique may work well for some people in some situations. For the rest of us, in most situations where strong emotions are involved, we fail at “rescripting” the dialogue that runs in our heads. As a result, we continue to make poor decisions. We helplessly act out of habit. Even if we are able to force ourselves to talk or act differently, the change doesn’t last. Then we mentally beat ourselves up and worsen conditions.
We need to identify the emotional reactions in the body that created the feelings and thoughts. Then we have to determine what “triggered” the biochemical and hormonal reaction that created the emotional state. It takes an awareness of our emotional triggers to override their power. According to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, author of Looking for Spinoza: Joy, SorrowDownload Article 1K Club