One of the most difficult times to stay present and grounded is during a difficult conversation.
Have you ever noticed, when faced with someone who is angry or frustrated with you, how easy it is to lose your presence and flow?
An important piece in developing your Evolutionary Intelligence, is to develop awareness around what happens for you during these times.
During a difficult conversation:
Can you remain present and calm?
Can you really hear the underlying concerns or needs of the person?
Can you listen to yourself and know what your needs are in that moment?
Or do you feel frozen, or rigidly forceful and defensive?
And here’s the good news: whenever anyone is angry, it’s actually not about you! There may be any number of things that have contributed to someone feeling angry in that moment – and the underlying reason is always fear-driven.
As we develop more self-awareness ourselves, we begin to notice more what pushes our buttons. We can begin to understand that it’s not the current situation that causes us to lose our presence, it’s actually the story of what has happened in the past, or what we are afraid of.
Based on unpleasant things that have happened to us in the past, a part of our brain called the amygdala compares the current situation to the past situation. Anything that remotely reminds the amygdala of something painful or scary can trigger a fight, flight or freeze response. This could even include a similar smell, or a sound that was present during that painful time.
The good news is that by increasing our focus and presence, we are able to lower the activation of the amygdala – and we become less triggered by “old stuff”.
So once we discover this for ourselves, we can begin to have more empathy for the person who is angry at that moment. We can stay present, hear them and ourselves, whilst knowing that it’s their story that is causing them pain.