Being Reactive is a sudden, knee jerk reaction that can be driven by unprocessed emotions. We see it every day in social media and the news. It can trickle into our lives; we find ourselves reacting in ways that raise our heart rate and blood pressure, causing chaos in our everyday lives at home, work, and social events.
“You are wrong, and I am right,” and “that’s not the way to do it,” are two common reactions to someone that see’s things differently than you. Being reactive to a situation because of believing information we receive to be wrong or somehow hurtful is an easy habit, that can become behavior, to form.
The blame game is an all too convenient way to justify one’s actions. We might learn this game at a young age when those around us would justify our behavior to others. Then, by default, we continue this behavior not knowing any different.
Letting others have a different point of view is a very noble thing. Being Co-Dependent, we can form attachments to others’ ideas, internalize it, and see them as a threat to us. From the emotions of anger, sadness, and disappointment to feeling threatened and being judged, we are then reactive in a defensive, justified, proving way causing us to not grow in compassion and even flame into hate.
When you learn to step back and choose to understand the other person has their own point of view and respect their passion and right to have that point of view, you will be exchanging Co-Dependent reactiveness for Leading Lady Self-Discipline.
Creating Self-Discipline is not an overnight thing; it is as all behaviors are—a one step, one day, and one little thing at a time kind of change. I believe we stop trying in the discipline arena because of occasional slip-ups being seen as failures. The more we come to the truth within ourselves the more we start to see that in order to change we have to slip and each time we rise that is the behavior of discipline. We don’t arrive at a behavior; we simply rise to it.
Sometimes self-discipline is used as the alternative to using willpower. Willpower is unsustainable for long periods of time as self-discipline is formed from a sense of self-respect and gives dignity to others. Showing up in the world with self-discipline generates energy that allows others to be themselves.
There are many occasions to practice Self-Discipline. Every day will toss us moments in which we can either choose to be Reactive or have Self-Discipline. In the beginning, it will be challenging, you might feel like you are not being yourself, that you are being a pushover or a doormat. I want to offer that as you step back, take a breath, listen, and open yourself up to that moment, over time you might find your heart lighter and a feeling of peace and calm come over you.
If you want to transform the behavior of Reactive to Self-Discipline and are ready to get your one to one coaching? Click here to book your discovery coach call today.
Can you remember a time when you have experienced self-discovery either as an adult or a child, and how accomplished you felt that you figured it out? When we try to control others’ lives we are taking away their self-discovery process. This will not only diminish their experience but yours in turn.
Gaining Self-Awareness of what we can control helps us keep and have loving relationships with people in our lives. When we begin to think such thoughts as, “I have to do this, or it won’t be done correctly” or “this is the right way to do it,” we might not be giving others the space to develop skills, grow in confidence or simply show we believe they are capable. Asking yourself, “does it have to be done” and “is there another way to do this?” or “can I give it to someone else?” may help you learn—over time—to let things go.
Cultivating a life of self-awareness is a wonderful Leading lady behavior that you can exchange for the co-dependent behaviors of wanting to control everything. Many are unaware when they are portraying control behaviors as they proclaim that it is not themselves but others who are trying to control things.
Since it is a behavior we easily identify in others and don’t see it in ourselves it can be a tricky one to detect. Having a sense of control in our lives is something I think we humans gravitate toward. The truth is that everything outside of you—when it comes to everyday life— is out of your control. A question worth asking yourself when you are feeling out of control might be, “what is my part in this, and how do I want to respond to it.”
Being human, we not only desire a sense of control but also answers. Telling someone how to do simple tasks or wanting them to do it your way and becoming angry because they don’t, may indicate you are trying to control the situation.
Behaving passive-aggressively is another kind of controlling behavior. Asking a loved one the question,” Why don’t you love me,” or saying, “you don’t love me anymore,” or even, “you’re not mad at me are you?” are leading questions with hidden undertones. Indirect questions like these are a way for co-dependents to manipulate the relationship. It’s not necessarily on purpose but more to do with the fact we are insecure, and so we look for validation outside of ourselves.
Controlling behavior can look like nagging, thinking you have the answers, and passive-aggressive speaking. Look for these in your day to day living and become aware of how you respond in situations, how you talk to yourself, and the effort you give. Holding space for yourself will help you as you grow in letting go of control and embracing your own Self-Awareness.
Creating Self-Awareness and allowing yourself to observe your own behavior can be disheartening at first, but as you hold compassion for yourself it will slowly become liberating. Remember, you are your own worst critic. If any of the examples I explored in this blog resonates with you, schedule your discovery coach call. It’s a great way to see what coaching with me is all about. Here is the link to get started and discover what is possible. https://angeladryden.com/contact-angela/
Having moments of low self-esteem is a thought I would assume most people have experienced at one time or another in their life. Growing one’s self-esteem usually begins in childhood. As you attempt to perform tasks you have never done before, such as learning your alphabet, your numbers, and how to read, all these attempts in such tasks can help you gain self-esteem in your abilities. Then how do we exchange having low self-esteem in your abilities for having confidence in your self-worth?
I think the idea of having low self-esteem became associated with our ability to perform a task such as, “I can’t read therefore I am dumb”. Whether you can or cannot read doesn’t make you more worthy as a person; the skills you obtain through trial and error will not increase your worthiness. Being able to read is an ability you gained to increase your personal value, and a person with value is not the same as a person of self-worth.
Low self-esteem is a co-dependent behavior that can wreak havoc on your relationships, the emphasis being that self-esteem is developed through doing and adding value. When we exchange it for self-confidence and learn to see ourselves as being 100% worthy without adding anything, we are choosing to grow from a place of abundance as we are not trying to add what we think is missing. Self- confidence isn’t the acquiring of knowledge, it is the gaining of self-realization.
There are many quotes that might be giving us ladies even more confusion when it comes to worthiness vs value. They are two sides of the same coin. One side of the coin is embracing who you are and being confident in your self-worth. The other side is growing into what you want to become through improvement and adding value. There is no need to argue that one is more important than the other when they are both important from different perspectives. In other words, they are not competing factors but complementary.
One of the best definitions of self-confidence I learned in my certified training to be a Life Coach was that it doesn’t come from anything external; it is being present and experiencing all the emotions with the understanding that you can handle them. This means, you can’t fix yourself by improving a skill, the fact is you don’t need to be fixed, this is you being present with your self-worth.
You don’t have to change if you love where you are, but you can love where you are and choose to change. When I am working with a client and they really begin to embrace this concept it’s as if they found the key to unlocking a door they have always had access to.
Embracing the opportunity to experience all emotions one must be willing to put yourself out into the world with all its perceptions. Being able to see all sides and view things from a point of not needing to change yourself but fully accepting you can when you want to change your value knowing you are already 100% worthy.
Have you experienced moments in a relationship when you wish it was just easier, finding yourself fighting to feel better? The Motivational Triad has three components to it: seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy. I want to offer what this looks like and how being aware of this process could aid you as you work towards transforming co-dependent behaviors into Leading Lady behaviors.
Let’s explore the first corner of the triad and look at the Motivational need to avoid pain. Our limbic and sympathetic nervous systems have a negative bias that can if we allow it, dictate our every move. It was designed to keep us alive; designed to keep us safe by wiring us to avoid all pain, whether it be physical or mental. By utilizing our Parasympathetic nervous system and prefrontal cortex we can decide what is a life-threatening danger and what might be our fears that are stopping us.
The next corner of the tripod is seeking pleasure. When you reach for the remote control, scroll through social media, grab that glass of wine or box of cookies we might be engaging in this. This is a way that one can use a “socially acceptable action” to avoid pain and conserve energy at the same time. We justify our actions by telling ourselves everyone else does it, too. This concept is one that can keep us from many experiences since the initial reaction to change from our routine can generate emotions of fear and anxiety, which leads us to avoiding pain.
Taking an evening walk, reading a book, studying a new language, or working a side hustle to earn some extra income are all examples of activities that expend energy instead of conserving it. When we avoid pain by seeking pleasure, such as sitting down to watch Netflix because our brain tells us we deserve to relax, we are conserving energy, but not getting anything done. This conservation of energy was historically essential to the human race, but now we must battle the Motivational triad on a daily basis.
For example, your loved one wants to watch a Netflix show, but you offer to go for a walk because you are trying to hold healthier habits. They say no, and they might even offer in return to have you sit and watch TV with them. You know they are wanting to sit because you understand the Motivational Triad. There is nothing you did or didn’t do; it is their limbic system doing its job. If you wanted to go for a walk and made it a goal to do that, when you use their actions as being your reason to not walk, you are engaging in a co-dependent behavior. You can choose to go for a walk, and they can watch tv. It doesn’t have to mean that someone is mad, doesn’t love you, or any such thing. It all depends on how you want to see it; allowing your loved one to see it their way and giving yourself permission to accomplish your goal of walking.
When we realize that the reward of an accomplishment would not generate such an uplifting emotion if we didn’t know what struggle felt like, we find ways to let go then rise up. It is only through knowing the struggle that we truly appreciate the reward. With this awareness, we are taking the steps to become a Leading Lady.
When you catch yourself feeling hurt because someone didn’t do, say, or react in a way you would have liked them to, it might be time for you to take note that you are “holding a manual” for that person. In coach-talk we call having an expectation of how someone should behave “holding a manual” for that person. When they choose not to behave the way we want them to, we find ourselves giving them the silent treatment, yelling at them, or holding resentment towards them. That is holding a manual and also thought of as having expectations.
Culture can give us certain expectations to uphold—for example, we are taught a mom should be loving no matter what, a dad should always want to protect his family, and children should obey their parents. We, as women, may also have expectations toward our husbands. I have thought much about this, as I have held many expectations for many people in my life, my husband, too. I’ve thought, “my husband should support me, he should believe in my dreams and compliment me often.” The manual I want to explore about dropping is that of our husband. Once we can drop the manual our relationship with ourselves and them will improve.
Let’s explore a favorite movie of mine, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Toula wants to do things her way, discovering what makes sense to her for her life. It isn’t easy as the Greek culture is embedded in her family and stepping out of it will be a challenge. She doesn’t want to completely let it all go, she just wants to make her own path and do things her way.
During a conversation with her mother, Maria, she is told, “Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.” Although this is funny, and I still laugh when I hear it, its humor does not detract from it’s the relatability of this statement to many women. I want to suggest that allowing your husband to be who he is and you to come to the table with your suggestions could be a way to promote unity as a couple and drop the idea of wanting to control one another.
A book I recommend reading to assist with this is The 5 Love Languages. Read this not so you can tell your partner what you need, but so you can meet yourown needs. When we are demanding or expectant of others to meet our needs, we will never truly see them for who they really are. Why? Because we are so busy trying to change them to what we think they need to be for us.
Ask yourself the questions, “Do I really know what I want? Do I meet my own needs on the regular?
Once you know your love languages you will know how to talk to yourself and the way you need to treat yourself. When we have met our own needs, we are able to show up for our spouse with our cup full and we give because we truly want to and not from a place of expectations.
Over time, in his own time, your spouse will begin to give to you in ways that might not be your language, but you will see the effort and appreciate him all the more. It’s that much more beautiful when a husband decides to do the dishes, even when it’s not how we do it, not because we told him to, but because he decided he wants to.
I still make requests; in fact, I make a lot of requests. But, I don’t hold on to them with expectations. Dropping my husband’s manual is a process and a process I believe to be worth working on daily. When you drop the manual, you are allowing your husband to be who he wants to be and loving him for who he is.
I was coaching a client and gave her an assignment to write down her top 5 priorities for her next session. At the start of the following session she shared those priorities. Then I asked her how her week went. When she described to me what she did with her time it became apparent that not one of her priorities was represented in her daily activities.
When I relayed my observation to her, she was shocked and said she hadn’t even realized she wasn’t including her priorities. Now to her credit this is not uncommon. In fact, I would say it is more common than not common, as I am guilty of this as well.
Just like my client I have found myself feeling a little frustrated because I was not accomplishing things that I had thought were a priority. What I found was that until I became clear on my Principles or what I value most and realized that priorities change depending on my current goals, I would always feel frustrated by this. Making sure my priorities aligned with my principles helped eliminate the guilt of feeling like I wasn’t accomplishing the important things. It also helped me focus on creating a life around what mattered most.
Let me explain further…
We have a desire that this person, place, or thing needs to be a priority. We have thoughts of what we think should be our priorities then we have daily tasks that sneak in if we don’t have a clear view of our principles. Unless our thoughts are matched to our principles then to our priorities, we can get stuck. We often find ourselves going in circles on the infamous hamster wheel, getting frustrated and not getting the results we want because we are so busy doing task work that isn’t based on our principles.
For example, I value Time. I used to think Family and Community were two of my main Principles, but these are not within my control. When I dove deeper into creating a life on purpose, I discovered that valuing something not within your control, like other people, is more of a priority and not a Principle. I then clarified my top three Principles to be Time, Health, and Spirituality; all three of which are within my control.
In Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People his first three habits all have to do with the “inside job” or managing your mind, personal vision, personal leadership, and personal management. This book is a good example of building a foundation of your Principles before creating your priorities.
But what do these priorities look like? Completing my weekly schedule on Sunday evening is a priority because of my Principle of Time. As I fill in my calendar, I add in time for grocery shopping, meal planning and exercise. Some examples of priorities that represent my Principle of Health would be spending time with my husband on a hike, taking our dog to the dog park together, or going for a walk with a friend.
My Principle of Spirituality is represented by tasks such as scheduling time for meditation/prayer, reading scripture or other materials and sharing what I learn with my boys or husband, and doing some service work or giving to nonprofit organizations that I support.
Everyday tasks such as work, paying bills, housework, car maintenance, etc. are also penciled into my calendar, but these are just mundane tasks that need to be completed. Because I value Time so much, I make certain to not “over-pack” my schedule and leave “blank space” for those unexpected things that can happen. If I don’t plan for it, I will become subject to it.
Once you decide to be clear with your values and prioritize tasks accordingly, along with taking the time to purposely work on your thoughts, your world will become a more peaceful place. Instead of trying to fit people and activities in based on reacting to others’ priorities, create a life based on your principles and priorities, thereby creating a life on purpose.