The BEST HOLIDAYS YET! Curb Those Grinches (Part 2) If this rider and elephant controls my actions, but how does this help me avoid those emotionally charged conversations?
The rider and elephant can also be classified as our fight or flight response. (Remember high school anatomy?) When we are emotionally stressed (i.e. the elephant takes charge), people respond in an argument by either fight (aggression, yelling, sarcasm, etc.) or by flight (with drawl, avoidance, passive aggressive, etc.) In short, the elephant’s buttons are pushed, physiological responses happen, and the elephant literally runs away from the rider, our level-headed self.
a. What can I do about keeping my elephant under control?
b. Sit those irritable family members outside in the snow. (This is wishful thinking.)
c. Hide away until January 2, 2013 (It will be here before we know it.)
d. Change your mindset. (Mistletoe is not a cure-all.)
And the answer is…..
Change the pattern of communication, which in a way is changing your mindset. That’s right. Think of each argument as a choreographed dialogue that just repeats itself using different words. You refer to it as pushing your buttons. It is as if you do have a set of buttons (neurological buttons) and if pushed in a certain sequence—words, tones, topics (the pattern), you get upset and argue.
Notice how it says, "What can I do to control my elephant?" Fortunately, you can’t control what people say or do. (If this were possible, life would be so much easier for us.) So instead, you have two options: 1) change how you interpret other people’s actions or 2) change how you react. Altering your interpretation or your reaction you break the pattern that leads to arguing. Change the subject to something more interesting: Speaking about proper cooking, have you been following the sex scandal cooking in the news recently? Ask a non-related question: Did you leave the lights on in your car? Or change your reaction, ignore their statement and instead show interest in something that interests them or show gratitude of them being part of your holiday celebration.
Keep reminding yourself that no one, I mean NO ONE is wrecking your BEST HOLIDAY YET—until you smell the desserts. (See BEST HOLIDAY YET Part II, Herculean Willpower—or Not)