It is common to think that we can rationally think our way through these challenging times. Taking time to notice our thoughts, emotions and body sensations provides great information to connect with how we are actually reacting to everything that is going on. When we learn to resolve the frozen perceptions that trigger these reactions, we create space to thrive.
To focus our energy, let’s start with three key questions. Do we know where we are going? Do we know why we are going there? Do we know what gets in the way? Let’s assume that we know where we are going and why we are going there. I am going to focus on the key barrier to what gets in our way: Our reactions.
By reactions, I mean the behaviours and feelings that occur in response to something that happens.
In this article, I will highlight the challenge of both changing reactions and being stuck in reactions. I will also offer how we can resolve our reactions to create a path forward.
I enjoyed a great corporate career. I used my passion and focus to get things done. I knew how to take action to change things and I thrived as part of a team. I felt confident in my decisions to do what was right for the business. So I didn’t have an issue. In my performance reviews over the years, I was commended for my ability to get the job done, along with the odd comment about my impatience with others who didn’t operate with the same sense of urgency.
At work, at home and in my community, I could easily defend my behaviour towards others and my feelings in response to experiences. I strongly believed in the need for urgency, so I didn’t work too hard to change. When I tried to change how I reacted, I saw what had to be done and my ‘hurry up’ and ‘try-hard’ drivers kicked in. This was simply part of who I was. I didn’t believe I needed to change how I reacted and when I did try to change, I was derailed in the heat of the moment. For thirty years, I read performance reviews with the same glowing comments and the odd remark about my intensity. It did not change.
Being stuck in patterns of reactions
I focused on the situation, not the person, but when there was work to do and it was not getting done, I was not happy.
As I look back, I did not fully appreciate the impact of being stuck in these patterns of reacting. When someone indicated that perhaps I should be more patient, I defended or denied my behaviour. I dismissed their comments. My reactions to their comments triggered them to react. I am not fully aware of how each person responded but I have some ideas. In large part, we got in a groove of how we worked together. We achieved a normal flow and this worked really well for our core group. At times, when someone new arrived on the team, they were taken aback by my intensity. It took some time to establish the relationship. And I admit, with a few people I just never understood their way of working. I focused on the situation, not the person, but when there was work to do and it was not getting done, I was not happy. I got stuck in a pattern of reacting. It got in the way of my work and the work of the team. As I look back, I can now see instances where my reactions held back my ability to advance my career.
In 2013, I met Willem Lammers and I was introduced to his work: Logosynthesis. This model for self-coaching and guided change was being used to heal trauma and anxiety. As we talked and I read his books, I was intrigued and curious. He worked with the power of words to shift the frozen perceptions that triggered frozen reactions. By using reactions as information, Willem developed a very structured method to shift the energy in the triggers so that distressing, reactive patterns fell away. Distressing images and limiting statements that were stuck in an individual’s mind were shifted. They no longer triggered distress. Distressing reactions were consistently eased with each cycle of Logosynthesis.
Over a lifetime, there are many experiences contributing to many triggers. With a focus on ‘What bothers me now?’, I can begin the work of resolving my reactions. I can recognize opportunity when I have the power to use Logosynthesis – either on my own or with a trained guide – to shift my patterns of response.
Clearing the path forward
When I resolve the triggers that influence my reactive behaviors and feelings, I feel better. I can operate from a position of calm, clarity, and focus to take action. I can clear the path forward. As I shift my energy, others feel the difference. When I resolve my reactions to my situation, my situation changes. I am able to change from reaction to meaningful action.
If you are interested in giving the guided process a try, take 10-15 minutes to focus on this video from start to finish and notice what shifts.
Further information is available at The Healthy Living Plan and The Origin of Logosynthesis websites.