What others say is about themselves What another person says is about them, it is about where they are ‘at’ in themselves, how they feel and what is going on for them. It is not about you.
Do you take things personally?
If you hear what another person says as being about you, that is about you. Maybe you need to strengthen your boundary around yourself and say to yourself ‘This is is about them, not about me’ and literally ‘Return to Sender’ the message you were about to internalize.
Healthy Boundaries create Healthy Relationships
The more I can stay ‘Separate’ to what another person says, the better I respond. I am less reactive and therefore more proactive. I avoid becoming defensive from having taken it personally and generally the interaction goes better. Remember, we cannot change anyone, we can only change how we respond to the other person and then they may also respond differently to us. Only one person needs to change to effect change between.
Step back from conflict means you deal with it better
Normally when someone becomes defensive with us, we respond defensively (to protect ourselves). Then conflict can escalate as both parties are enmeshed. When someone is defensive with you, hearing what they say AS BEING ABOUT THEM-NOT ABOUT YOU allows you to respond differently. You step back, say to yourself ‘this is about them, and for them’ and you take a breath, and resolve to stay grounded. Listen to them from a heart place, a place of compassion, as troubled people are operating from inner turmoil.
What’s the feeling behind their words?
Instead of focusing on what they say, try focus on getting underneath the words to how they feel. All behavior has a reason, so what is going on for this person?
Seek first to Understand – Then to Be Understood
Mostly, we go in first to be understood, but the more you relieve the other person of what they need to say, the more they are open to hearing what you have to say. ‘Tell me more’ ‘Can you say more about that’ ‘I’m hearing how upsetting that was’ ‘Sounds like that was very difficult for you’
Acknowledge your own feeling
‘I feel upset by what they said’ and respond to self in the way that you need; with kindness and compassion. ‘This is not easy, this is very difficult for me; I feel I’ve lost my solid ground and feel wobbly after that interaction. I need to be very gentle with myself, I feel a little vulnerable right now
Respond in the way that you need – Soothe self
I need to stop for a moment, get my feet solidly on the ground, and breath to soothe self, breathe to get myself back to feeling grounded, where my feet feel like they have magnets pulling me into the centre of the earth. A three minute breathing exercise where you simply focus on following the breath will get you back to that solid place, your inner stronghold – from where no-one can demean you.