Recently I’ve found myself in a couple of situations where as a mate put it “that was a bit rough”. I’m not talking about someone cutting in front of me in traffic. I’m talking about those situations where it’s something important to you and the way you’re acting is in line with your values, who you are as a person and at the same time respectful to the other person. A younger me would have responded in a hurt, upset way but that didn’t happen in these situations because I have different knowledge and skills to draw on now.
This is what I’m going to share with today because I’ve had a heap of clients the last couple of weeks in similar situations. When you’re reading this focus on a situation where you’ve felt hard done by and apply the techniques I’m describing. That way you’ll get the most out of this BLOG.
During the situation
My mind was clear. I was responding with short sentences in a calm, rational way. I asked questions to clarify the meaning of the other person. I kept my body relaxed. If I could tell the other person was misunderstanding my responses I’d rephrase things by starting with “what I mean is…”
Even though I communicated like this I could tell by the person’s response they’ve walked away with a different understanding of the situation and me as a person compared to what I was intending. This is where the younger me would start over analysing the situation, get hurt, upset and think up ways to “fix” the situation.
What even is “fixed” anyway? Is it realistic that everyone’s going to view situations the same way as me? Can I control what people think of me?
Here’s what the new me does.
What meaning am I giving the situation?
As humans we love to add meaning to things. Why someone acted a particular way. Why things have turned out better today than yesterday. Even little things. If I asked you what ice cream means to you, you’d have a different meaning to someone else. But see how it’s still ice cream? In reality ice cream is basically made up of cream, milk, sugar, flavouring and whatever those random numbers stand for. This is what ice cream is. It’s not the meaning that you or someone else gives it.
So now I want you to relate this new information to the situation where you’ve been hard done by. That's the meaning you've added. The other person will probably have a different meaning. Someone else you explained the situation to will have a different meaning again. But in reality the situation is just that, a situation. A series of interactions. Some words. Some actions. Some reactions. Whatever. See how this shifts your perception? It gives you a new outlook; more distance, detachment, less emotion. The emotions that we've attached to the situation are in actual fact attached to the meaning we've given it, not the reality of the situation.
What is the intention of the other person?
The other thing to check out is “what’s the intention of the other person?” Often we’ll use a bit of mind reading to figure this out. Can we read other peoples’ minds though? A more accurate and easier way is to just ask the person. It'll go something like this "what do you mean by that?" After hours of research and studies conducted by yours truly I've discovered this simple question will save a world of confusion and hassle. Plus it's just easier and less effort than having to mind read, fester over problems and try to interpret facial expressions and body language. Well, unless you're watching Days of Our Life.
If you’re not able to ask that question you can imagine watching a movie of the past situation in front of you. Be the observer, have that distance and disconnection between you and the people on the screen. Pretend you’re a judge watching the movie to find out the intention of both people. Ask yourself “what was their intention?” “What was my intention?”
People generally have positive intentions but the meaning we add misconstrues what we think their intention is. We get side tracked with the meaning and lose track of the intention.
Different communication styles
Plus we all have different ways of communicating. The language or tone we pick at the time can result in someone misinterpreting our intention. Let’s face it, this happens to all of us. You know those times when you go “whoops, that came out wrong.” Or because you were a bit fired up or tired or preoccupied thinking about something else you were giving of a certain "vibe". This can misconstrue the other persons ability to accurately understand our intention.
Note to the reader: Yes, I know you're switched on so you've probably noticed that I'm wording this in a way where it focuses on our communication, rather than the other persons. This is because we all play the "Take Personal Responsibility Game" now (see the previous blog if you want to know what this game is about https://www.hypnotherapydevonport.com/blog-1). We all know that we can't control what someone else does. I won't insult your intelligence by explaining that in anymore detail. This is why I can so easily leave out the "I said, they said" shizzle. What's going to help you move forward are the knowledge and tools I'm explaining.
So by focusing on the persons intentions, rather than the meaning you're adding, or their communication style (let’s call it style) you'll have a different perception which allows you move forward easier.
The new me sees the situation for what it was. A situation in which I responded in a particular way and the other person in another way. I took the lessons from the situation. Then I moved on. Yep, you guessed it, I cheated and used some mind training tools to speed this up and make it easier. It wouldn’t be fair if I gave all the good stuff to you clients, right? I refocused and got on with placing my energy and time with people and situations where I’m left feeling happier, lighter and laughing. I can see the value in the situation because it’s helped me realised how much I've grown and changed. Awh...what a warm fuzzy feeling. Your turn now...
Something to think about...
“It takes a lot of energy to judge someone.”
- Kerwin Rae
Australian businessman, entrepreneur and international speaker