My goodness life can send you around in circles.
Have you noticed how things keep coming back to you, how life repeatedly gives you opportunities to do something differently?
So often we have the same conversations. Sometimes with the same person, sometimes with different people, but always the same conversation.
The same fight.
The same failed outcome.
The same disappointments.
The same misunderstandings.
With the same people, which can become frustrating to say the very least.
But we all get stuck in our habitual ways of being with other people, of reacting to others. Sometimes, it is so obvious to us what we are doing, we can copy and paste our reactions, and sometimes it is not so obvious.
One of my favourite coaching principles is ‘everyone lives life from their own perspective’.
There is no one in my life, or in yours, that is not doing what they are doing for a valid reason. You may not see what is it is or understand the reason, but it is real and valid to them.
If we disagree with someone, we may have the opportunity to sit down with them and try to understand better, but they have to want to talk and we have to want to take the time.
They have to feel safe with you, and you have to hold that space of trust if you want a mutually beneficial outcome where both parties are left with their dignity and personal power.
Another way is to do something differently.
To respond differently. This may sound complex and unless we let go of the idea that what we do differently has to be the ‘right’ differently we will end up in knots, and so may our relationships.
But there is a way to begin this process. When someone says something that triggers an emotional reaction in you, take a moment to think about what you would normally do. Get angry? Get defensive? Throw blame? Diminish? Withdraw?
Try doing something differently.
We do not always know what ‘different’ is in the moment. It may be to stop talking. It may be to lower your voice. To take a breath. Ask for a hug. Apologise. Ask for time-out or to start the conversation again.
Anything you do differently will move you to a different outcome, even if it is only a marginal shift: a shift is a shift.
Will the other person notice? Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Will it make you want to fall back into the safer (though not helpful) patterns you are used to?
Probably. We are human.
But if we can do something differently once, we can do something differently again the next time.
And as we reach for different, we will begin to see things differently; sometimes that is all we need. To see things differently.
Words: Kemi Nekvapil
Speaker, author and life-coach Kemi Nekvapil is driven by clarity and engagement to empower those she is working with to take meaningful action.
An International Coach Federation credentialed life-coach, she has been in the food and wellbeing space for over 20 years. She pioneered raw food in Australia, trained as a yoga teacher in India and runs retreats in Australia and overseas, as well as speaking on the international stage and running coaching programs for women all over the world.