...And the 3 habits, 3 questions and 3 statements to memorize to stop burning your bridges
Let's face it. We all overreact and get defensive at times. But chronically overreacting, blurting out hurtful insults or a barrage of negative comments and building defenses so high no one can climb them...well, those are the most damaging habits that sabotage your relationships. You know that song, "She remembers the bridges...burns them to the ground"
If you check off even 3 of these habits, I'm sorry to say...your relationships are probably in need of some quick acting repair before you lose the ones you love to your overreacting and defensiveness. Now, before you get your feathers ruffled...I want you to know that these actions are almost always a result of self-preservation. Meaning, you weren't born that way...you were made that way by your past, your beliefs and your experiences. Don't worry, after acknowledging where you need to grow, I'll give you the tools to help overcome these bad habits.
See how many of these ring true for you. Feeling brave? Have your partner answer them on behalf of you.
- You speak before you think (hint: what does the face of the recipient look like? If they are taken aback, don't respond, widen their eyes, back away or walk away...this is your sign!)
- You often have to say you're sorry or feel bad about what you've done or said in the 'heat of the moment'
- You are known to storm off, mutter under your breath, lash out or seethe over common questions, conversations or after interactions with others, when other people seem to stay so calm
- You often misinterpret other's intentions, their meanings and their motives
- You have had friends but it always seems like they do something to piss you off, make you mad or otherwise ruin the friendship (hint: if this happens more than once...it's probably YOU!)
- Your family members or close friends seems to tiptoe around specific subjects because you'll 'go off'
- You're known to hold grudges...and bring them up or have difficulty letting things go
- You've been fired, let go or otherwise 'distanced' from jobs, volunteer ops or other social engagements
- You don't get invited to as many outings, events, parties, get-togethers as you used to
- You domineer conversations and often the other person doesn't get to speak much
- You frequently interrupt or talk over others (this one is hard to notice yourself!)
- You're afraid to ask other's opinions of you, your behavior or relationship difficulties because your ego gets bruised easily
- You often overreact to other's opinions that differ from your own, feeling as if they are attacking yours
- You frequently feel lost when hearing about other's lives because...well...read number 10 and 11
- You feel physically tense and can't remember the last time your body felt like Jello (minus alcohol or drugs)
So, how'd you do? Feeling guilty or a little put off? Maybe you're even doing one of the behaviors above! That's great! That means you are embarking on the first step in changing a habit and behavior that no longer serves you. Awareness is key to learning how to be a better human being.
Luckily, I've got some great tips for you to help you begin to have better relationships with those you love and those who love you. If you're serious about keeping loving relationships, you've got to do the work. Consistently and regularly. One of the hardest things for my coaching clients to do when tasked with this activity, is to flat out ask their partner this question, "Dear one, I really want to work on this aspect of my behavior. Could you please lovingly have a conversation about me if I do keep doing my habit so I can reflect on it?" This often needs to take place after it happens until you have cultivated enough skill, patience and impulse control to catch yourself. The hardest part is actually listening-without interrupting, defending or denying your behavior. Memorize these and put them into action immediately!
3 Habits To Stop Right Now!
- Interrupting and talking over others. Let. Them. Finish. Don't think about what you want to say. Don't try to butt in. Just listen. Be fully present. Look them in the eyes and hear them. If you take nothing away other than this one much-needed skill in the world...your life and your relationships will improve. I promise!