1. We focus on what’s wrong rather than acknowledging and growing what’s right.
Ruminating on annoyances never makes them magically disappear. Instead we need to consciously manage our own reactions, responses and behaviours by curiously wondering what gets triggered within us when we feel wronged or annoyed. Or we could choose to just step away and skip merrily on our way, sidestepping obstacles. The more we involve ourselves in tasks that propel us forward and make us feel good, the better. See if you can stop, breath, count to five and remind yourself of the value your loved ones add to your life.
2. We criticise rather than praise behaviours or affirm competence.
Think about how it feels when you have your less than fabulous traits pointed out to you in a way that doesn’t invite healthy discussion or kind creative solutions. Generally speaking people are more ready to give negative feedback than positive, and are likely to tell all who will listen about bad service rather than yell thanks from the rooftops about great service. Let’s all aim to spread more kindness around. Acknowledge. Affirm. Praise. Give thanks. Write a 5 star review.
3. Negative emotions are so much easier to grab at when we feel threatened.
It’s important to stay resourced, rested and care for ourselves in ways that don’t run us ragged or make us righteous, stubborn or argumentative. Being tired and run down seemingly “allows” anger to spill over. Flowing lava burns people. Choose how, when and if you use it. Think about the consequences. If someone crosses your boundary, it’s really ok to just state something simple such as “I’m not ok with that.” Or “It’s not ok to talk to me like that.” Or invite the other person to communicate respectfully by asking “Could you please say that in a way that makes me want to listen.” Be encouraging and hopeful of change. If change doesn’t occur, reassess what you are doing and be brave enough to sidestep situations or people who don’t enrich your being.
4. We don’t always behave in respectful ways or treat others the way we would like to be treated.
Disrespect can sneak in a number of ways from how we talk to each other, to how we listen, right down to emotional or sexual betrayal. The rule of thumb is this. If you wouldn’t like it done to you, don’t say it or do it. Reach into the magic hat and pull out new ways of communicating. If you don’t want your words or actions viewed by people you care about, it’s a sure sign to stop and find an alternative. If you truly feel you don’t want to be around someone, reassess how much time you spend together, or walk away and consider how or if it serves either of you to stay connected.
5. We don’t take self-responsibility and explore what gets activated in us when we feel hurt and angry.
If you consistently use anger as a first response, see if hurt lies underneath it. Be aware of what is likely to trigger you. Are you hungry, lonely, tired or unresourced? Did you step over your own boundary and seek engagement when you would’ve fared better taking time out? Do you need more solitude and self-care? Was it the right time or place? Did you filter your responses? Did you focus on the issue at hand rather than personally attack another? Did you think “If I say this, in this way, what is the likely consequence?”
In summary, 5 ways to do it right? Stay centered, calm, curious, compassionate and look for creative solutions.