Creatures of Habit
It was recently pointed out to me (in a completely loving and endearing manner) that I tend to be somewhat a creature of habit. Now I’m not going to lie, but my initial (contained) response was defensive to say the least.
I was quite conscious of what I must have looked like as I drank the air and breathed it slowly out. My non-existent poker face could give away my entire attitude if I let it, and I really didn’t want to do that. I am as stubborn as they come, so of course this observation was news to me. There was the element of surprise coupled with what felt like a personal attack, which painted me a not-so-happy-camper.
Okay, so let’s rewind here for a sec.
The majority of the time, I consider myself quite level headed and reasonable (my biased opinion, of course). ‘Cruisy’ would even be a word that I think could be used to describe my nature. But I do know enough to understand what my trigger points are. This being the point where my emotional temperature rises to a point where the ‘freeze, flight or fight’ response kicks in. Where my vulnerability feels like it’s over-exposed, peaking out of control and I can no longer think sensibly as my emotions now firmly run the show. Much to my brain’s displeasure.
I know that if I allow myself to get to that point, rationality and common sense can be lost on me. A point of no return. The potential damaging point where we may say things we later regret. When I respond from a feeling of hurt, my words can hold such vitriol even I cringe and try to catch them as they fall out into the ether.
And so, as I felt my body tensely building up to this point and knowing that my lid could very well fly off given the measure of personal offense I was feeling at the time, I employed a technique that I call the ‘neutral space’. At this point, I need to thank the astute teachings of a friend of mine (Dean Tuckey Consulting) who educated me on this method. To use the word “interesting” in this manner can allow for breathing space whilst maintaining a conversational rhythm without direct conflict.
So I shifted gears.
I inhaled deeply (again) and mentally stopped adding bricks to my wall of resentment. I detached emotionally from the conversation at hand and realised that this was in fact, somebody’s opinion. Not a matter of fact or a statement of any kind. An observation. And an observation from someone I cared more about than what it was worth arguing over.
I managed to get out the words “Interesting. Why is it you think that?” in my most trying-to-be-nonchalant-light-hearted-I-don’t-want-to-have-to-punch-you-in-the-throat-tone of voice. But this was all a ploy to buy me some time. Not all silences need to be filled. Wordless drivel can sometimes be worse.
As I listened, I was able to appreciate this truth bomb for what it was.
I could feel a wry smile twitching at my lip. And I couldn’t deny it. The more I argued with him (in my head), the more that twitching smile teased me.
Much to my indignant dismay, he was right. And by right I mean sooooo right. Only after he pointed it out did it become so blindingly obvious.
In so many ways I am routine-based, boring and absolutely do the same thing the same way I’ve always done them. Only now I can laugh at that about myself and own it accordingly. Those truth pills can be really hard to swallow, regardless of how much water you chase them with. And sometimes we take it out on those that dare show the mirror up to ourselves.