The Vibrant Moment – Remember: Be Rational.
Tools from the Center for New Psychology
Publisher: Doris Jeanette, Holistic Psychology Mentor, Coach
You make a mistake.
Your partner does something you do not like.
Your son will not eat what you want him to eat.
What do you do? Do you become rigid and controlling, insisting he eat the way you want him to eat? Do you exaggerate the situation and make it worse than it is? Is this moment really that much of a tragedy?
We all overreact sometimes. It is wise to notice when you do. If you have been in effective therapy, you received outside feedback about your irrational, defensive behavior. You learned that being defensive is a waste of your time and energy. Even more importantly, you learned that irrational behavior does not get you what you want.
An irrational reaction is when you behave in a way that does not fit the reality of the situation. A defensive reaction is not an emotional reaction. Psychologists, researchers, and dictionaries often confuse the source of irrational reactions and tell you that you are being too emotional. Not true.
The source of an irrational reaction is a learned conditioned response. Reactions often feel like a knee jerk response that occurs so quickly you cannot be master over it. But is it? The figurative meaning of knee jerk comes from the physical patellar reflex discovered and named in the 1870s by Dr. William Richard Gowers. Your physical knee jerk response is necessary for good health. It is a reflex, not a conditioned response.
An irrational reaction to life situations is not a reflex and it is not good for your holistic health. When you are conditioned to respond irrationally to anything, you are trapped in a vicious circle of self-control. You are like the pigeons in the city parks that go round and round because they are conditioned to turn around because once they found food when they did.
Could it be that when you are not “in control,” you react irrationally? Yes, irrational reactions occur when you cannot cope with reality. You suddenly become dysfunctional, instead of breathing, dealing, and bending with what is really occurring. When you are irrational, you are not feeling your authentic emotions and you are not aware of your body.
Abruptly, you behave as if you were a monster, instead of a human being with choices and options. In this irrational moment, you are the one being controlled. Thus, you are weak and helpless. You are not free to choose an assertive, effective way to handle the situation.
Reactions are learned, which is a very good thing, because this means you can unlearn them. There is no reason you cannot break free from any conditioned response and become rational and emotionally secure. Rise above your conditioned reactions by feeling your emotions and body, instead of being afraid of them. Your body and heart help you stay safe and sane.
Being in touch with your emotions is what allows you to be assertive. You must know what you feel before you can be assertive. When you are assertive, you are rational and emotionally secure. You are standing tall on a solid foundation of integrity.
Being honest makes you an effective, loving parent, lover, and friend. Best of all, you get what you want.
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