This was first published on KSL.com
This is kind of a generic question, but things happen and I don’t know how to figure out the right way to respond and fast enough. I am a slow processor and struggle with immediate reactions. I also just wonder if you have a process or way to find the right response in a situation that would help me avoid bad behavior?
I am going to share a process in this article you could use to help you find the right solution or response to any issue that may arise, though it is most useful with people problems. This is a procedure that will help you make sure you are seeing the situation, yourself and other people involved accurately — which is the most important part of good decision-making. If you are reacting without the whole story, or you have made up a story that isn’t really true, you are not going to respond appropriately.
We all have a subconscious tendency to apply “story” to events, which complicates them and creates more suffering. For example, if someone says they can’t go out with you this weekend, you might add story that they don’t really like you, you must have offended them, they like other people more than you, or you are just not enough. All of those scenarios are story. The only fact is they can’t go out. The story you tell yourself is fiction, and it is completely in your control. You could tell yourself a different story, one that might create better behavior if you wanted to.
Here is my Clarity Questions Process that will help you remove inaccurate story and choose a balanced, love-motivated response to any problem. Not every question will be relevant every time, but some of them will.
1. Is this problem really about you? Or, is it really about the other person’s fear issues and it just got projected onto you? Remember that it's hurt people who hurt people. Most of the time when they are hateful toward you, they are spewing their own self-hatred and fear of failure at you because they aren’t strong enough to own it. If this is really about them, let it go and work on being balanced, mature and loving yourself.
2. If the problem is about them, what are they afraid of? Are they afraid they aren’t good enough? Are they afraid things won’t be the way they want them to be? Are they afraid of being mistreated? Has this created fear-driven, bad behavior?
3. What are you afraid of about this situation? Is it failure or loss?
4. What do you need to feel safe right now?
5. What do they need to feel safer in the world?
6. Is there anything you can do about this? What is actually in your control? You can only be responsible for things that are in your control. If you have no control, it isn’t your responsibility or your problem. Let it go and work on being balanced, mature and loving yourself.
7. Take 100% responsibility for whatever is in your control. Don’t make excuses. Own that you behaved badly as much as possible because the more you were — or are — responsible for, the more power you have to fix things. (Ego really hates being responsible because it prefers blaming and complaining, but these actions leave you powerless to improve things.)
8. Remember you have the same infinite, absolute, unchanging worth as a human being just like everyone else. We all have the same value, so no part of this situation can diminish you (unless you choose to let it). This will make you feel safer, which will help you to respond in a less selfish manner. When you are afraid of not being good enough, you always respond whichever way will make you feel safer. You won’t be able to focus on the needs of others.
9. Remember that everything about this experience is here to serve your growth and learning. The universe is a wise teacher that knows what it’s doing, and it brought you this problem to stretch the limits of your love and help you become wiser, stronger or more loving. When you accept this situation as happening for you — not to you — you will see it accurately and respond better. Trusting that every experience is the perfect one for you takes away the fear of loss, mistreatment and feelings of being taken from. From this place, you can again respond less selfishly and think about what other people need.
10. Is the other person involved in this situation tired, hungry or incapable of mature behavior because they haven’t had the opportunity to learn a better way of handling life? What has happened in their past that could be affecting their behavior here?
11. Is there any chance that the emotion you are feeling right now is one that has shown up repeatedly throughout your life? Is there any chance you had the fear that this situation is triggering long before this experience with this person? Is it your issue and possibly a big lesson that you still haven’t learned, so it keeps showing up? What could this emotion be here to teach you to do? If you had to solve this emotion inside yourself without involving anyone else, what is the work you probably need to do?
12. What are all your possible responses to this situation? Write down every possible option — even the bad ones. Make sure you write each behavior option down with a good, loving attitude and again with a bad, fearful, defensive attitude. For example, you could speak your truth with anger and hate, or you could speak your truth from trust and love (same option two different attitudes).
13. Next to each option write down what you think the outcome of choosing that behavior would look like.
14. Cross out all the fear-driven, negative, bad behavior options and choose a love-driven, strong yet kind, respectful response that feels right to you.
If you still cannot tell which response is the right one, apply WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). Most of the time, that is your answer. If you trust your intrinsic value is unchangeable and your journey is the perfect classroom for you, you should be able to respond in a strong and loving fashion, honoring and respecting yourself and your needs along with the other person and theirs. Practice this procedure and it will get easier and easier to see the answer clearly.
You can do this.
Coach Kimberly Giles is a master executive coach and a popular corporate trainer doing people skills training and team building experiences with her 12 Shapes Relationship System. She is the CEO of https://www.upskillrelationships.com
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.