I was in a meeting, and someone there said something that, to me, sounded sarcastic and dismissive. I immediately, automatically, became defensive. My way of becoming defensive is to dismiss the person speaking and carry on. That generally works because it causes minimal disruption and I feel it doesn’t make others feel uncomfortable. But I felt uncomfortable, and perhaps others did too and were protecting themselves in a similar way.
It’s a sore spot for me. We all have sore spots, and we all protect ourselves when those sore spots are triggered. Most often, we protect ourselves in a way that works and helps us, but also very often, there’s something about that form of protection that leaves a negative residual.
In my case, it prevented me from checking out my projections, and left me judging the person negatively instead. Since that meeting, which was quite a while ago, I’ve learned to sense when I’m triggered like that and use a different way of coping: I smile, very much like the speaker in the Ted Talk below – Joseph Lewis.
I smile and take a breath, and focus on listening to what the other person is saying. I haven’t forgotten myself and my needs, but this helps me to assess how important this experience is to me and how I want to take it in. It also helps me to stay with the person who is talking.
You might say these two responses are both coping strategies. But I don’t believe so: the first is a trigger reaction; the second is a genuine response, and as such, has no negative residual.
Quote of the Week
“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.”
– Conrad Joseph
Finding your coping mechanism
I hope you enjoyed this article. When you’re ready to take the next step on your life journey, book a free 20 min consultation with me.