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Mind the gap

Stop the reactivity, hold your centre and de-escalate your life.

· choice,mindfulness,non-reactivity

Reactivity - the root of (pretty much) all (internal or external) discord

Sometimes we're angered or upset by people or situations...

...and before we know it we've opened our mouths and barked. They get aggressive, defensive, dismiss, or stand their ground - and add fuel to the fire. So you come back at them. They at you. You to them... and so forth...

... or maybe the moment's moved on before you even get to say anything at all... and you stew and brew until you get the chance to say something else - likely unrelated - that helps balance the books (in your mind anyway).

... OR this could all be happening inside your head and you're spiralling. You can't stop thinking about it and now it's grabbed hold of you.

Slow things down. Right. Down.

It helps to be able to notice instantly when we've been 'triggered', when we're spiralling and losing our centre. But to do so - we need to be really clear on what 'centred' feels like. And that requires us to be still.

Stillness needs an internal space that most of us just don't have in our social media-laden, doing doing busy-ness. It's a skill that needs cultivating. It won't happen the first time - and perhaps not even the 30th, but it will happen eventually. (Note: self-care and kindness is key here).

Giving ourselves the space and time for choice.

1. Pause - and step sideways.

Pull on the handbrake. Stop. Count to ten. Focus on your breathing or the feel of the chair you're sitting on, or the floor beneath your feet, the texture of your clothes against your skin, the smell of the space you're in. Taking your attention away - even for a split second - from your reactions, can give you that crucial moment you need to grab a hold of your reactions.

Mind the gap - and don't step over it.

We need that gap to be created in both our thinking and our feelings so we can CHOOSE how we respond, if at all.

2. It's a choice to go there.

Being able to mentally pull back our galloping emotions, to rein in our reactions, gives us a moment to go 'huh... hold on. Let me see if this is really something I need to respond to.' We need that gap to be created in both our thinking and our feelings to be able to do so.

You can choose not to go there. If you create the space to do so - and then figure out what's triggering you.

That momentary pause gives us the gap necessary to NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

3. Are you making assumptions?

This doesn't serve you - and it certainly doesn't serve the other (or the space you're in).

Thinking that you know where they're coming from or why, is just that: an assumption.

You don't - and you can't possibly know the complexities of that person's life that led them to doing or saying what they did. And you may have missed some of the complexities in yours that's making this moment bigger than it needs to be.

(If there's something here about being disrespected, balancing the books, needing them to behave better/be different etc etc - that puts an awful lot of power in the other person's hands, no?)

Their behaviour, words, actions - are about them. And ours - are about us.

4. Stay.

When we're triggered, that big hole opens up in us and we need to fill it, fast. And so we go on the assault, push the feeling back onto the other or we can withdraw and turn the assault against ourselves. What if we stay with the discomfort of the moment and don't do anything about it?

The trick is not getting the feelings to GO AWAY - it's learning to BE WITH them.

If we can stay with what's present in us for long enough - it changes. Nothing stays the same from moment to moment. If we can truly realise this, then we can be with what's here and name it. Once we've named what's truly present - we can let it go - or do something about it.

What's triggering us is more often than not about us. And this, we can change. If we choose to.

Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go. - Mooji

Build that muscle.

To bring our focus back to NOT THEM, we need to step away from our outrage and look elsewhere. One of the best ways of building that muscle of non-reactivity is by using our breath (we all have it!).

We count to 5, 10 - whatever number works - or maybe save the image below.

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