“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
(Sorry for the premature post last night.)
With perfect timing, this quote popped up on my Twitter feed just after my last post (Trilogy of Self) went live. In this sentence, Frankl sums up the practical application of Ipo’s lesson.
It’s more than “look before you leap.” It’s a matter of pausing and setting aside your emotions you speak or act. For example, while it may feel momentarily satisfying to clap back with a hurtful remark after somebody has insulted you, if you remove your own emotions, you might recognize a person who insults you is likely insecure and feels threatened by you — perhaps because they like you and cannot express it, or because they believe you have qualities they wish they had but lack. In other words, they feel inferior to you. Looking at it that way, an insult is actually a compliment. But could come to such a useful and practical and really, life-changing realization if your own emotions were triggered every time you were insulted?
It’s what we call in NLP “disconnecting the buttons.” As we say in the hypnosis biz, “synapses that fire together, wire together.” In other words, every time you respond the same way to the same stimuli, you wire your brain into a kind instinctual loop. So, for example, let’s say every time you speak to your mother, you feel angry, resentful, stressed. You have accustomed yourself to being pissy, to starting arguments, fighting. Just the phone ringing with her call sets your teeth on edge. But what if you put your emotions aside next time you had to deal with her, and listened to her the way you might listen to, say, an elderly neighbor? How might the dynamic be different?
You can only be truly free when you release yourself from the “hard-wiring” of your own emotions.
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