This post is a continuation of a previous post.
So how do you change your reactions??
- Look at the ways that you have always reacted and examine them to see if they serve your highest good. Is this the way that you want to react to this situation?
- Ask yourself about the impact that your reaction will have on your self-esteem; when you react in this way, do you feel good about who you are and where you want to go? Does this reaction help you or hurt you on your path to development?
- Think about someone you admire, a behavior role-model. If this person was in your situation, how would he/she react? Why would this person react that way? What do they know that you have not yet accepted? How can you change your thoughts and behavior to come in line with this lesson?
- Ask yourself if you need additional help to change your reactions. There is power in admitting that you don’t yet know how to do something well and that you would like to learn.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. It took years to develop the reactions that you currently have’ it’s going to take a while to develop new reactions.
- Acknowledge that effort is as important as outcome. Although you may want to see changes now, most times these immediate results are not long-lasting and you will slip back into a reaction that you want to overcome. What do you do when that happens? You acknowledge that you still have more work to do and then you continue to do it.
- Making mistakes does not mean all is lost, it means your mind still remembers what you used to do and requires more effort and time to change. DO NOT get down on yourself and give up. Remember how you felt the first time you succeeded!
- Redefine what it means for you to succeed. My definition of success is not the same as anyone else’s. Yours should not be either. In therapy, I have to remember that sometimes, little tiny changes are successes in their own right. I have to remind others that slight changes can make all the difference and sometimes if we wait on big successes alone, we’ll never feel successful.
- Measure the changes that you make in relative not absolute terms. Don’t undervalue the small changes that you have made so far. Changing your reactions is not an easy task and it may seem overwhelming at first because after all, you’ve reacted in these ways for a long time. So begin with a tweak of your usual reaction.
- Then ask yourself: Compared to where I was before, did anything change? Yes and has it made any difference at all? If it has celebrate that!! Next, if you could make one little tweak to improve that, what would the tweak be? It you continue making these small tweaks, they will add up to big changes after a while. Continue to strive for the change you want and maybe you will get to a point where the small changes that you have achieved will be good enough and you won’t need the really big change.
- Try 30 day trial periods: I read about this concept on a blog a couple of years ago and have seen various versions on the web since. Pick a situation that you would like to react differently to, maybe the way you get upset when your significant other doesn’t do what you expect or even in the way that you like them to do it. Normally, you would get angry and nag or whine or argue, but for your 30 day trial, you’re going to choose a different reaction. Maybe you could not say anything about it or just appreciate the way that they did it. It saves you emotional energy and makes the other person feel like he/she can be him/herself. After 30 days you can stop if it doesn’t work for you and try something else but at least give yourself 30 days.
Remember, while the things that happen in your life are not largely in your control, how you react is. Create brilliance by dimming the light on the negative things that happen and strengthening the positives.