We all have situations that push us to shut down or bristle. This post gives some suggestions on how to deal with these constricting dynamics, and even some ways to use them to grow. One of the top ones for me is feeling discounted, so I use it as the example in this post.
#1: Seeing the Dynamics In Action
It is hard to not get automatically sucked into constricting dynamics, especially when they are well-established and well-practiced. But if you know the characteristics, it becomes easier to see them in action.
For example, here are just some of the ways you may be discounted:
Not being asked (or allowed) to share your opinion or story.
Not being invited (or allowed) to contribute.
Getting interrupted when you speak, or not being allowed to speak.
Being judged when you share your thoughts and feelings, or not being allowed to share them in the first place.
Having your experience summarized by others in a superior or condescending way.
#2 Pause in the Present
When you are wrapped up in a constricting dynamic, the key is to not automatically move into the stress response. To do this, breathe with your diaphragm, and feel your belly move outward with each breath. While you are standing there, feel your weight on the soles of your feet. These actions can help you stay calm, present, and grounded.
#3 Choose Your Response
When you stay present and aware, you have the option to choose a response that is more life-giving for you and everyone around you.
For example, here are some ways to move forward when you are being discounted:
Recognize when you have treated others in this way. This helps you stay out of the victim role.
Consider that this person feels the need to reinforce their ego/identity or to dominate. With this perspective, you move out of seeing the person as someone attacking you from a position of power, and you may even feel some compassion for them.
Provide great internal support. Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself encouraging messages.
Speak your truth if that is the most life-giving option at that time. This is especially important if you need to set a boundary out of love for yourself.
You may not be able to do this kind of processing in the moment, especially if the situation is emotionally charged. But that's okay. Try not to judge yourself for being human! You can always revisit the situation in your mind later, and this can help you release what you are carrying, and give you more options for responding in the future. This type of introspection takes effort, but it is worth it. Because when we don't automatically engage in constricting dynamics, we take back our power. Then instead of enduring or resisting these situations, we can use them to expand our awareness and to choose how we want to move forward in our lives.
💜≈ For more information to enhance your relationships, consider checking out my book, Healing with Awareness.