“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Get Back Your Peace

This post starts with a question,

Do you have somebody in your life that knows exactly which, when and how to press your buttons?—If you don’t, you are amongst some of the luckiest people in the world! 

I do have one person who used to know how to press all my buttons at once and provoke a crisis every time she wanted to—did you noticed I said, “used to?” but not anymore!

Even though it took me some time to learn how to interact differently with her, I have to acknowledge one book that made all the difference in the world.

The book’s name is “The Dance of Anger” by Ph.D. Harriet Lerner. Click here to take a peak of the book.

This book helped me to realize that when we communicate with other people, we usually use a behavior pattern. It is like a “dance.”

And the dance goes like this during a disagreement:

  • When we interact with a person who knows us well, specially our weaknesses, it’s a little more challenging for us to clearly express what we think and why we don’t agree with them.
  • When they are coming from fear instead of love, they tend to use manipulation to make us think their way.
  • If that doesn’t work, they shoot where they know it hurts the most.
  • We immediately feel offended and either we defend or beat ourselves up for not being that “perfect person” we “should” be.

Even though sometimes we can recognize that we are the ones with the open wound, we feel powerless to control our emotions and collapse, feeling that that person can hurt us every time he/she wants and there’s nothing we can do about it.

That makes us feel as victims and angry with ourselves.

At the end of all of this commotion, we walk away with shame, guilt, resentment, sadness and anger.

This dance continues every time the same way.

It is a behavior pattern.

The only way to break it, is acting differently. Then the other person would have no choice but to respond in another way.

If he or she still wants to interact with us, they’ll need to “dance” differently.

This doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes time and practice to change a pattern, specially when the other person will expect you to change back to the old behavior.

This used to be an old pattern for me. My triumph this time was that I could remain calm and didn’t fall back on anger, guilt or shame as I used to. Instead, I had an inner peace that allowed me to interact in another way with this important person in my life.

Of course there were feelings attached—after all, I am still human, but not the usual disaster.

After meditating before going to sleep that night, I could even thank this person for helping me to remove a big fear from my subconscious mind, a fear that was holding me back from achieving my goals.

The lessons?

There are many:

  1. On every experience we have, there is always something to learn if we are willing to look for it. Look for what good things can come out of this.
  2. Take responsibility for your behavior instead of blaming the other person for what “they did to you.” Remember that you are a like a mirror. Evaluate what part of you is the “perfect match” for that person’s behavior.
  3. Set clear boundaries. There are some behaviors that are just not acceptable. It is important that you let people know what your position regarding a topic is, and that even though you disagree with them, you still love and care for them.
  4. Learn to observe your feelings—just for the sake of noticing them without judging them, and learn to master your emotions.
  5. Meditate and ponder about your day. Make a balance, and remember that we are the         ones that give meaning to everything we experience in life.
  6. Decide to look at your “negative experiences” as life training.
  7. Process your emotions, forgive yourself and other people, and let go of what’s hurting you. Remember, what happened it is already in the past. The only place it’s still happening is in your mind…so, chose to release it!
  8. Be grateful for your circumstances. Focus on what you still have. Try to rejoice on the good things in your life. To find out more about how to use gratitude, go here.

I hope this can help yourself regroup after a difficult interaction with someone else.

Remember that there is always another day. After a night inevitably, it will be a brand new day!

We can decide to make the most of every day we have on this Earth.

Please don’t give up on your efforts to grow and evolve as a person. It is possible to live better.

I know it because I did it. You can do it too!

For more information, visit our Self Help page.