Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

It’s all about awareness

It’s all about awareness. Or at least, that is probably the most important starting point. Because until we are aware of

…what we think

…how we feel

…our gut reactions

how we react

…what triggers those reactions

…what underlies those reactions

…we are not in a position to make appropriate choices. Because that is the next step. We choose our response, and in so doing, are in a position to radically alter the reality that we are in.

Let me give you a staggeringlyAwareness trivial example from my own world, but one that you might identify with.

One of my Nearest-and-Dearest leaves a pile of generic household items (…? you know, glue sticks, scissors, chargers, boring random stuff) that have been used for something by that individual, but are now finished with, in a pile in a place other than that to which they belong.

I find them, and notice that they are still there some while later.

First step, I become aware of how I feel:

I am an organised person, who likes to complete a task and do so efficiently. And I can’t stand clutter. So this presses many of my buttons – not finishing the job, not tidying up, not taking responsibility, creating mess, not being aware of other household members.

I feel irritated and annoyed that this has happened again.

Now, that awareness then presents me with two main choices of response –

Choice Number 1 –

Those feelings of irritation start to quickly escalate. How could they do this to me? Do they think a tidying up fairy lives in this house? This triggers more deeply buried negative tapes: I have to do everything round here. No one else takes any responsibility. It’s not fair. I feel taken for granted again. I am not appreciated for what I do, no one notices all that I contribute yet if I wasn’t here this place would grind to a standstill.

My response is to yell and scream and rant and rage. The person in question gets it in the neck. And then things turn really nasty – lots of past misdemeanours get raked up and cast at other, entirely uninvolved, family members, as I storm about tidying up to make my point. The atmosphere sours, everyone is miserable and it takes a while to recover equilibrium.

Notice several issues here – my own emotional needs for appreciation, respect and attention; blaming the other and not seeing my own issues; keeping score of all that I do. And if this is a repeating pattern, not seeing my own need to change. All relationship lies that we have talked about over these past weeks. It is interesting to note how quickly they all come into play, within a matter of seconds.

The challenge is to take time to stop and breathe and pay attention in the moment of awareness to what is going on under the surface.

And that makes Choice Number 2 possible –

I stop and take a breath, and realise what emotions are surfacing and what emotional needs are being triggered. I also am aware of the potential for imposing my own expectations and values onto the rest of the household, who do not necessarily share my love of organisation and efficiency.

I recognise that this is one isolated incident, and is not very important. My needs are valid, and there is an issue of tidying up. But it does not represent a global lack of appreciation of me, nor a global failure on the part of the individual. I recognise that if I start down the ranting-and-raving route, I will be as miserable as everyone else, and that is not what I want. And therefore my response is key, as I have full responsibility for that.

I go and find the individual, and ask if they have finished with the items in questions. At this point, I could also choose to calmly express my frustration and encourage them to take responsibility for their part in keeping the house reasonably tidy. If practical, I ask them to clear up immediately. If they are in the middle of something (homework for example – I don’t want you thinking that MB is always the individual in question here!) ask them to clear up within a reasonable and agreed time frame.

This whole process takes only a matter of minutes. And yet, the outcome is utterly different.

This is a trivial example of a complex process. You will have situations that spring to mind that exemplify this process within yourself.  Learning to respond like this takes time, effort and lots of practice – but who said that good relationships were going to be easy? We start to become aware of our emotional needs, negative tapes, internal scripts and repeated behaviour patterns, and realise how they play out in our interactions with others. The steps are clear –

Awareness : choice : response.

This week, try applying some of this to your own interactions with your nearest-and-dearest, and see how your awareness grows.

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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