This is very basic but makes a crucial difference in our life.
When I am with someone else and something is triggered in me, how do I relate to it? Do I react to it and act on that reaction? Or do I notice the fear and discomfort in me and acknowledge it to myself and perhaps the other person?
This is especially important in our close and intimate relationships. And this is also, hopefully, where we can feel more safe to practice acknowledging what’s going on.
My partner says something. It triggers a reaction in me. I notice what’s happening and perhaps the temptation to go into reactivity and defensiveness. Instead, I can find and acknowledge the fear behind what was triggered in me. And if I feel ready and safe enough, I can say it to my partner.
When you say that – when you give an ultimatum, when you make things black and white like that, when you blame me – I notice I feel scared.
The honesty of it is often enough to diffuse a situation that otherwise could be tense and go into reactivity-dynamics on both sides.
At first, it can feel less safe. But is it really? Is it safer to go into defensiveness and reactivity? Is it unsafe to be completely honest and vulnerable?
If it feels unsafe, we can examine it for ourselves in this way. And we can also talk with our partner – or another close person in our life – about it in advance. We can set the stage for trying this out in future situation. We can even support each other in this.
It can be a beautiful shift in how we relate to ourselves, the other, and perhaps each other.