Know someone who easily pushes your buttons? You’re absolutely fine until they just target a few words at you and bam, you're ticked off.
And do you find yourself revisiting the conversation and going back to feeling frustrated each time?!
That ping-pong effect is something our physical, mental and emotional states get used to. And we find ourselves living away from our center, away from ease, peace and feeling angry, frustrated and unhappy.
There are three simple steps to get back to center. They are simple and effective:
STEP 1 - BREATHE
Breathing is the one bodily control we have that can affect EVERY system: respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine. Breathing gives the body a rhythm to live by. Do you want that rhythm to be slow and patient, or short and panicked? Allow yourself to pattern your breath to how you want to be in your life.
Breathing allows us to train ourselves to not react immediately to whatever is happening. There is time. You don’t have to have a snap solution, an absolute answer ready.
And no circumstances need extra drama swirling around it.
Drop into your breath. Give yourself time and space for this. Before defending yourself, before answering, before trying to resolve, fix, explain: Breathe. This prepares you for the next step.
STEP 2 - NOTICE
Breathing gives you time to notice exactly what the current circumstance is - AND what it is NOT. Noticing brings you to the present moment and washes away past experiences, thoughts, emotions: Baggage.
Many times, when we are faced with people who are difficult, we bring in past anger, resentment, frustration. You may even notice your brain bringing messages like:
“Here we go again.”
“He did this the last time!!”
“She has to control everything.”
Just notice what messages the brain brings in that build your emotions. These messages help build the current moment into a big, dramatic event.
For our own health, we have to let that go.
Noticing allows us to do that. We notice all the extra silly crap we’re adding to the situation and breathe through bringing us to our final step.
STEP 3 - SIMPLIFY
When we breathe, give ourselves time to notice we are able to simplify the situation, rather than build it. We take out all of the emotion and focus on the kernel of what needs our attention. When we begin to respond through breathing, noticing and simplifying, we become much more effective at work, with loved ones and in our communities. And we can respond from a place of love and compassion that connects us to those who are in our lives.
PRACTICING THE THREE STEPS
So, this is all easy to write about and read about, correct?! But for it to work, we have to do it!
Our lives will never be immune from dealing with people we find difficult. But it is our responsibility to handle our own reactions and responses. One of the most effective ways I’ve found is to have a consistent, ongoing practice that saturates me with the gifts of slowing down. Taiji and qigong have been vital to me. As I practice them, their gifts melt into the rest of my life, building a foundation and centeredness that allows me to be in each moment, rather than ping pong to each one.
Here’s a handy step by step pdf "3 Steps To Deal With Difficult People" to help you notice the work that you’re doing to maintain your center. And, if you're interested in a daily practice that makes being centered part of every moment, check out my Taiji For Balance online course.
It is a gem that weaves meditation, movement, philosophy into a way of living balanced in your center.
Sometimes it helps to be reminded that you're not alone on this path to being fully present in your life. Stay connected with simple practices, reminders and humor that come in my monthly newsletter.
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