It Felt Like an Attack! I Needed to Carefully Choose My Response

 In Communication, Negative emotions, Relationships, Uncategorized

Have you ever had a coworker or a family member snap at you and it felt like you were being attacked? What was your reaction? If you’re like most people, you probably got upset. It’s easy to say or do something out of anger or hurt when this happens, which only adds fuel to the fire.

I recently did a presentation that focused on helping people identify their priorities. At the end, I asked who could use help with their priority and then asked the group if anyone had expertise in that area. We made these connections for a few of the members. 

Suddenly, one person spoke up complaining that they’d been a part of this networking group for years and had received little, if any help. This person spoke loudly and at length about their disappointment. It felt like an attack, and I noticed my insides getting tight and my own frustration rising.

I needed to remain calm, not say the sharp remark that was going through my mind, and address this discontent. So I was grateful for my recent practice of the “Pause and Notice” tools I’d learned. Now was the moment I needed them!

Choosing My Response

So I paused and noticed how I was feeling. Then I considered a couple of tools I’ve learned that could help me choose my response.

  • What kind of response would be in alignment with my values and who I want to be?
  • How could I reframe the situation so I could envision a new way of being?
  • I had to remember not to take their attack personally. Their emotions and issues were about them, not me.

I wanted my response to be helpful and positive. I reframed this person’s irritation and thought of it as passion for wanting this group to help each other more. I reminded myself that they were not angry with me. I remained calm, and the group ended up having a valuable discussion about ways to structure meetings so people could get to know each other’s expertise and needs even more.

This week, give steps 3 and 4 in the “Immunity to Negativity FormulaTM” a try. These are Pausing and Noticing in the moment when someone’s negativity is impacting your mood, your thoughts, and your reaction. Then consider the 5th step; Choose. What words and behavior would make things better for you, for the other person, for that team, group, or organization?

If you would like more ideas and tools to help you choose a response that makes things better, not worse, get free access to the videos from my online course, Keep Your Positive Edge:  How to Build Your Immunity to People’s Negativity for two weeks.

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