We're so busy reacting to other people and circumstances, that we forget that our reactions shape our life. And our reactions are shaped by our attitudes, beliefs and emotions. Instead of blindly reacting, we have the power to replace our limiting emotions and beliefs with the ones that set us free and help us achieve our true potential.
Here's a 10 step process - you'd be surprised how effective it's, if you take the time and make the effort.
1. Recognise the problem. Recognise that you have a certain strong recurring negative reaction - to someone or something. This may sound funny - surely we all know when we react negatively and strongly, right? Wrong. Our negative reactions are often so embedded into our psyche and our every day life, that we think of them as our 'personality traits' or inevitable part of our life.
2. Admit that the problem is 'you' and not 'them'. It's so much easier to say that the problem is elsewhere, with whoever, anywhere - but not within us.
I used to tell off my poor aunt Annie every time she asked me an innocent question about how my career was going. Or even worse - how was my boyfriend? Surely, the mean woman was asking when I was going to get - finally - married, and why my career wasn't going up? It took me a while to realise that aunt Annie wasn't the problem, my low self-esteem was. But even if aunt Annie was the mean woman I thought she was, why would I allow her to shape my reactions? We can't change other people but we can change the way we react to them.
3. Identify the problem behind your reaction. Is it a certain limiting belief? A negative thought? An emotion? Sometimes these are obvious - they come from our childhood. Sometimes they're not so obvious - something happened long time ago that made us believe that we're not good enough. Sometimes they're so well hidden that we'll never be able to understand why we feel or think that way.
4. Study that belief or emotion. Watch why and when it occurs, what triggers it. Is there a pattern? Is it with particular people? At particular times? In particular situations?
5. Go deep and go beyond. What do you actually feel? What's hiding behind the resentful reaction? You may never get to the bottom of it, but you'll discover that all our limiting beliefs and emotions are based on fear. Don't fight or argue with your fear though, you won't win. Instead.....
6. Let your negative reaction go. Don’t avoid that 'terrible' person or that situation. Instead embrace them and …do not react. Just stop, take a deep breath and don't react. Practice. It'll take time.
7. Not reacting doesn't mean ignoring the limiting emotion or belief. Remember the limiting emotion or belief you discovered in point 5 above? Well, keep examining it every time it shows its ugly head. Look at it at daylight, don't bury it back.
Prepare yourself that it'll take you longer to let it go and it'll be harder than changing your reaction. We can control our reactions in front of other people, yet it's so much harder to pretend that the nasty little fear isn't right there in our heart. But trust me, over time, with practice our limiting emotions and beliefs diminish - if we don't feed them with our reactions.
8. Start replacing the old reaction with a more positive one. It's easier to do it now than in step 6, because your limiting emotion or belief will become less intense. When aunt Annie says something again, just hug her and say 'it'll be fine'. Remember, it's not aunt Annie's fault that you feel insecure about such an innocent remark.
9. Make this a habit. Similar to brushing teeth or taking a shower. Every time you feel or think something that limits you or feels uncomfortable - recognise it, study it, don't react, let it go. Allow time. Didn't I say it was hard work? Like with any work, this soon becomes a routine.
10. Watch your life improve. First, there'll be small improvements. Then - as you get into changing your attitudes, perceptions and reactions - changes will come around quicker, you'll start seeing opportunities instead of problems and people who used to drive you crazy will suddenly become nice. Good things will start happening out of nowhere.
Remember - you are who you think you are, and you can shape your life and experiences just by reshaping your attitudes and beliefs.