The reason for this is that they are defaulting to their “habitual” reaction that is embedded in their subconscious and either do not have the ability to or fail to put the situation in context at that moment (which is hard to do). Of course, the long term solution is to re-script our subconscious to move away from the habitual reactions. But in the interim, if we can just put the situation in context, it will help us respond in a more productive way.
Empathy is a very helpful tool for this.
One of my great grandmother’s favorite sayings was, “I used to complain about not having shoes until I saw a man that did not have feet.”
Another situation where context is very useful is when conflict arises.
All too often we revert to the words….always, never, ever……these words are extreme, usually inaccurate and can have a very negative impact on our ability to resolve conflict.
For example, if one spouse says to the other, “You never call me when you say you will,” it will generally put the listener in a defensive posture and move the focus of the discussion from a potential solution.
So let’s focus on putting circumstances in context this week. It will enable us to respond proactively to challenging circumstances and to solve conflict more effectively.