I Didn’t Like Being Wrong. Name It to Tame It!
I have an embarrassing confession to make. Even though I’m in my 50s, I still have moments when I get my right and left mixed up. Just today I was driving to a meeting when my daughter who was navigating told me to take a right. As I started to take a left, she corrected me, “No! I said take a right!” Oops!
She started to tease me about not knowing my directions. My initial reaction was to get defensive. But she was right and I was wrong. My ego didn’t like being wrong. Luckily I was able to remember a great tool I’ve learned; “Name it to Tame It.”
I took a breath so I could pause and notice my defensiveness rising. Then I had a little conversation with myself. Seriously, Tina! You do get confused about your directions some times. She’s right, it is ridiculous and funny. You’re feeling defensive. That’s a normal reaction when your ego’s been bruised.
As I tuned into my reaction, it was easier for me to stay calm and make light of my mistake. Instead of getting upset or feeling hurt, I said, “It’s crazy how I can still get confused. You better just point in the direction you want me to go!”
“Name it to tame it” is a term coined by author and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel. The idea is that naming how you’re feeling can help you detach and observe rather than react. It helps you realize that your emotions are your issues and to not blame the other person. This is one of my favorite tools in the Practice step of the Immunity to Negativity FormulaTM . The more we practice this tool, the easier it gets. And, as one of my favorite sayings goes, life is going to give you lots of opportunities to practice!
Be on the lookout this week. See if you can find moments when you can pause, notice your defensiveness or frustration kicking in, and then practice naming it to tame it.