Stop Reacting! Respond Instead
Evolve your volcano of reactive emotions, moving instead into an authentic and appropriate response.
Reacting is an indicator of the energy of old stories rising up in the energy field, hijacking in-the-moment response. Old stories exist in everyone’s awareness.
Truthfully, the joyous, happy stories hold energy as much as the sad, difficult ones. While few would complain about the energy of a joyful story activating and overtaking an authentic, present moment response, tripping over a difficult story and the emotions that arose can create havoc in relationships.
Then there’s “go-to emotions”—the well-worn grooves that become standard reactions when things run amok. Over the years, I’ve seen countless clients who:
- react with anger when they’re hurt or sad
- meet every new or unusual circumstance with high anxiety
- put themselves down or apologize when they express a want or need
- cry instead of giving appropriate voice to their anger
- collapse into victimization when they need to speak their truth.
These go-to emotions are learned behaviors. They’re the substitute emotions used when organic, authentic emotions were unacceptable. The go-to emotion became the workaround, applied when situations arose where the actual emotion would not be well received.
These go-to emotions become ingrained and habituated, slipping out before they can be consciously squelched and a more appropriate or authentic response applied. How many times have you found yourself saying, “I was so [authentic emotion…angry, hurt, sad], but all I did was [go-to emotion…cry, attack, rage]”?
You can evolve your energy so your triggered reactions fade to dark, and live in the light of responding in the here and now, even when storm clouds gather in your relationships.
How to resolve these go-to emotions, to find the way to new behaviors, to responding instead of reacting? It’s a process, and three main elements will help you get there.
- Cultivate your observer. Identify a recent experience where your go-to emotion arose before you could take a breath and choose a more timely, sophisticated response. When you observe your behavior, you can take ownership of the experience, without shame, blame or judgment.
- Redesign your response. Consciously replay the scenario, choosing the response you would have preferred. Go so far as to imagine the other person in the interaction hearing you, acknowledging you, validating you as you respond authentically. Envision a different outcome, one that you would like to have co-created.
- Clear the go-to emotion’s energy. Using the experience as a resource to your evolution, bring your awareness to your energy field. Ask yourself:
- Where do I feel this go-to emotion in my body?
- Match up the location to the nearest chakra
- Lower abdomen, near pubic bone – first chakra
- Near the navel – second chakra
- Stomach, beneath the breasts – third chakra
- Center of the chest – fourth chakra
- Throat – fifth chakra
- Center of the head – sixth chakra
- Top of the head – seventh chakra
- Imagine pulling the energy of the go-to emotion from the chakra, like a mass of taffy or a chunk of iron filings; release it into the Earth for recycling
- Imagine refilling the chakra with beautiful green Earth energy (for the first, second and third chakra) or glittering gold Cosmic energy (for the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh chakra)
- Affirm to yourself that you’re releasing go-to emotional energy and evolving your awareness so that you can use authentic energy in your future interactions
It’s great to remember that energy clearing is iterative. As you continue to observe your experiences, connect to the go-to emotions without judgment or blame, and then do the clearing. You’ll migrate your energy to ever more sophisticated and in the moment means of connecting to yourself and other.
Validate, in fact celebrate the experiences you have where you respond instead of react, and you find yourself interacting effectively and being Who You Are.