Children respond to their environment; they respond to the feelings, emotions and habits of their parents or the people that raised them. If their environment is full of love and kindness, they convert that love and kindness into a way of life and they grow.

If, as children, we were encouraged to trust ourselves and our true feelings, we won’t feel threatened by commands or demands from our environment and other people. We will pause, evaluate, and discern before responding. If we have been taught to doubt, we may instead have an immediate reaction, a fight or flight response depending on the degree of threat to our identity or survival instinct. Often our knee jerk reactions to pressure can cause a situation to escalate into an argument, resentment and anger when it doesn’t have to.

Here are a few strategies to help us deal with our reaction when emotions are triggered:

  • Before reacting, pause and allow your initial emotion pass.
  • When others appear demanding and want to have your answer now, just advise them you will take their request under consideration.
  • When someone’s point of view is different from yours, don’t take offense but remember that everyone sees things through the lens of their programming.
  • When inundated with emails, texts and other electronic communications, don’t feel you have to respond immediately. Remember it wasn’t that long ago when we had to wait for the letter in the mail. Take a break and move around.
  • Tune into your true feelings and trust your intuition when being pressured to make a decision so you end up with a solution that is in the best interest of all concerned.

  • Once you have made a decision, don’t worry about what other people think. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Above all, be patient! Whether it’s our mother nagging, our co-worker being rude, our husband not being kind enough and so on, instead of reacting, pause and take a deep breath. Just because we have an internal reaction doesn’t mean we have to act immediately. Sometimes it just takes a few seconds, while at other times it would be helpful to remove ourselves politely from the situation and let ourselves cool down before we respond. And remember, it may not be us they are upset with; they may be more upset with themselves. Showing kindness and consideration in these situations goes a long way.

Live and let live. Everyone is where they are at. We can’t change people by being defensive, righteously indignant or angry. All we can do is set an example and trust that others will follow our lead. Life becomes much easier when we return to the feeling of love and inner knowing that everything is going to be all right.

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