Recently, one of my clients wrote to me with the question, “What do I do, when I find myself reacting negatively to the people that I love?” And I start by saying, let’s define love. I say that love is acceptance, total and complete acceptance of all people and all situations, at all times. Now, that’s not easy to attain. Why? Because we have built-in reactions that occur, and I think my client put it so succinctly, “I find myself reacting negatively to the people that I love.”
You’ve got to start to look at what you are holding people accountable to. If you’re reacting negatively to someone, it’s because you think that they should behave differently than what you’re getting from them. And if you think they should behave differently, then you’re holding them accountable to something that they never signed up for. So you’ve got to identify these “rules” that you’re holding people to.
The second thing that you want to look at is what’s triggering you. Why are you allowing the drunk monkey in you head to run the show? When I get triggered, I take a deep breath, and I say, “What’s triggering me right now? Am I feeling like I’m going to lose something? Do I feel like I’m going to somehow be embarrassed? Is there something making me feel like I’m going to get hurt in the future?” You need to think about these things because none of those things are true. You’re not going to be embarrassed by other people’s behavior. Now, you might allow yourself to be in a situation where you say, “That person shouldn’t behave like that, and it’s affecting me,” but it’s only because you’re allowing yourself to do that. It’s not the truth. When they behave however they behave, it doesn’t reflect on you, per se. And if, in some way, it cast a shadow on you, through your communication you can dissolve it and you can create a new way for people to see you.
So, ultimately, you’ve got to look at what standards you are holding people accountable to and what is it exactly that you’re reacting to. And if you can see those two things, wow, you can let it go very, very quickly.