Learning To Change Our Response System
I’m a control freak. Actually, to be exact, what I believe is that if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. And so, when things matter to me my tendency is to stay obsessively on top of them.
Now, I know that doesn’t make way to harmonious relationships. When I obsess I make others retreat. So, where is the balance? How can I get the response I need in order to not climb into the rat wheel while giving others space?
By being specific and requesting a response. For example: I’m in a business relationship with someone who is not very communicative. I send emails and sometimes don’t hear back for four to five days.
On the first day without a response, I assume the other party is busy and I’ll hear back the following day. When the next day comes and I don’t hear anything, I start to get aggravated. By the third day I have already sent a follow up email and made a call. I also wake up in the middle of the night thinking of all the scenarios that could be going on – none of them very good. In essence my neurosis starts to take over.
Having gone through this many times in my life I have learned to do two things: 1 – breathe deeply and not lash out and 2 – ask a question that demands an answer.
Sounds simple no? Maybe, but it took me a long time to get here.
So, now when I send an email to someone who is not very good in communicating I ask them – in the body of the email – to let me know they have received the email sent. What this does is psychologically force a response – and that is all I need.
Why am I talking about this? Well, I was thinking about addiction before.
Addiction doesn’t relate only to drugs or alcohol. It also relates to behavior.
We’re beings of habit. Once, we do something a certain way a pattern gets formed. To break the pattern we need to use our intellect – to recognize it – and our free will; to change it.
What things in your life are giving you grief? Is the ill feeling coming from your response to something rather than the situation itself? If yes, you can change it by first recognizing the pattern than by re-educating your mind.
It won’t feel comfortable in the beginning because you will be fighting your habit or tendency. So, remember to be kind to yourself and know you have the ability to change any response system you have built. All you need is compassion and time.