Our tendency to react
Why do we react to people? Where does it come from?
We want to have healthy relationships in our lives, and foundations that enable effective communication in relationships; so what gets in the way?
One of the reasons we struggle in our relationships is because we tend to react, and then get stuck in the reaction. It becomes like a predictable behaviour; for example, if someone is patronising with you, you may experience feeling hurt – feeling like you are stupid, like you should know more. This could be a reaction, a repetitive response to a familiar moment of hurt.
Even in the most loving relationships there is the potential to react – and sometimes over-react and blow things out of proportion, becoming emotional.
What is going on in our relating to each other when we react?
All reactions come from and are triggered by hurts we are carrying.
When we are born we are deeply connected to our essence – we know innately that we are love – so when we aren't loved as the precious beautiful beings that we are, it registers as a hurt.
If we didn't know of a love from within, we couldn’t care less if our parents and family were absent in their loving; it wouldn't affect us, we wouldn't feel rejected.
In fact, the hurts we carry are very simple; we all crave to be met equally and loved wholeheartedly for who we are. So in our relationships, when we don't get loved back on this level, it is felt as a hurt deep inside. These hurts can feel familiar and accumulate; they can build up as a sadness.
No One Wants to feel their Hurts, so Reactions are a Great Diversion
When we react to our initial feelings of hurt, we can end up on a roll, getting defensive, carrying a story, trying to be right, 'having a go', all usually fuelled by emotions such as frustration, anger and sadness.
We can even enlist behaviours as part of our reactions:
- getting into a filthy mood
- being hyper or racy
- numbing ourselves getting drunk
- escaping with drugs
- using social media or TV to avoid feeling
- distraction with shopping
- withdrawing into our 'caves'
- becoming critical and judgmental
These reactions can become so ingrained that it is very 'comfortable' to go into them, rather than feel the initial hurts.
We can all relate to not wanting to feel our feelings – who wants to feel that their Dad or Mum was detached from them... or that their partner isn't really adoring them... or that you yourself have been on edge, feeling tense and hard?
Tough stuff to face!!
With honesty, our reactions can reveal to us deeper truths:
- that we don't feel accepted or understood
- that we don't feel like we are enough
- that we don't trust that everything in life will be OK and work out and underneath all of this,
- that we don't feel like we are loved
Just even having an awareness of these feelings can be such great medicine for our knee-jerk reactions and behaviours.
It can help to bring an understanding and compassion to the hurts we might be carrying; and ultimately it's going to affect enormously the quality of communication in our relationships.
The more we understand our history of why and what is impulsing us to react, the closer we get to expressing our real feelings.
This can only lead to greater self-confidence from understanding ourselves more completely, and more true and effective communication in our relationship with ourselves and then with others.