When someone snaps at you or becomes aggressive, what is your instinct? Do you snap back or match their aggression? A lot of us do. Defending ourselves is instinctual, yet we are no longer in the backwoods standing up to a saber-toothed tiger. You might feel as if they are behaving like one, but ultimately, no. If someone pokes you with a stick, you want to rip that stick away and poke them back. Tit for tat. You mirror their action with an identical reaction.
And doing the opposite isn’t always the best option either. When parents ignore a child throwing a tantrum, that doesn’t necessarily stop the bad behavior. The child might get louder or try more manipulating behaviors for attention. Ignoring them doesn’t stop it.
So, what’s the happy medium between mirroring the same behavior and ignoring it completely? Emotional intelligence or compassionate empathy. Allow yourself to feel their perspective.
We can identify with why someone is being aggressive or throwing a tantrum. We all want to be seen or heard. We all crave attention when we feel ignored. But if we think before we speak and feel into our responses, we might be able to empathize. Put ourselves in their shoes. What are they feeling and why? Emotional triggers may have absolutely nothing to do with us. We just happen to be the target they are taking their anger out on. Remind yourself that it is not personal, even though it might feel that way.
Some folks bottle their emotions so much that there is no room to stopper it with a cork without the emotion spilling out. The “liquid” overflows and gets everything in the vicinity wet. Those folks get worked up about all their problems and they can dump all over you. They might feel relief, but you come away feeling like you need to shower with a scrub brush.
Keeping your own energy “lightened up” can help. If you understand that like attracts like, being the lighter one can help you avoid any darkness, or at least help shield you from any being hurdled your way. Anger or aggression can be neutralized with joy, contentment, and gentleness. If you can remind yourself the lighter you remain, the softer you walk in this world, and the less affected you might be by its harshness. You cannot change another or their energy. You can only influence by example or neutralize with lightness.
Tread lightly, speak softly, but don’t mirror their emotions back. You don’t have to be a doormat either. Defending yourself can be done with carefully considered words that can shut aggressors down. Or saying nothing at all, giving them space to vent. You don’t necessarily have to have answers. Most angry folks are lonely or misunderstood. They could use an ear or a laugh, maybe even a hug if you dare. Life isn’t fair. Compassion and empathy can tip the scales back in balance.
A metaphysical method to use mirrors to your advantage: When you feel attacked or someone is unloading on you, try placing a mirrored column or tube around your energy field (personal space) so that they only see themselves while they are throwing shade directly at you. It will reflect back to them without you having to utter a word. That can make them see their own behavior and either make them uncomfortable or stop it altogether. Protect your energy field with mirrors so others’ can’t bleed into yours.
#mirroring #compassion #empathy #communication #lightenup