For day 10 of the Build a Better You Advent Calendar, we’re going to talk about the you-turn/return. Part of building a better you is knowing how to recognize and navigate tough interpersonal interactions.
Biting into a lemon can get us into a huge reaction
Sometimes life just hands us lemons. Think of biting into a lemon as you would an apple, or a piece of cake. Expecting sweetness, you’re met with sourness.
That face you make when you bite into a lemon? That’s how it is inside you when a part of you is triggered during a disagreement. There’s only one thing to do.
Walk, or maybe even run out of the room to take a timeout. If you don’t take that calming time out, you are going to speak from the parts screaming aloud in your head. Kind of like some familiar characters from my favorite movie of 2015..
When you’re driving and you realize you’ve made a wrong turn, what do you do? You make a u-turn! In relationships I call this a “you-turn.” After the you-turn comes the return. I’ll explain.
When you make a wrong turn, take a you-turn and a return with these 5 steps
The first step to bringing calm back into your body is to put yourself in a place where you can invite it in. Set aside 20 minutes to be in this calm state. That’s how much time you’ll need for the neurotransmitter norepinephrine to lower your heart rate.
Here’s what to do with those 20 minutes.
- Focus on your breathing. Take 10 deep, slow breaths before locating any tension or tightness in your body. Focus on that. Ignore any thoughts and feelings (for now) while you are focusing on your breathing and body sensations. This will help separate you from your triggered feelings and help you calm down.
- Set an intention to be curious, welcoming, and accepting toward any feelings, thoughts, or impulses (parts) that show up. Invite these qualities to be present.
- Now, identify the different parts of you that are reacting to this situation. Give them a name or a label. Begin a dialogue with each triggered part. Journal this conversation if you can’t speak to your parts aloud.
- Ask your parts for cooperation. Let them know you will listen to them, and speak for them, not from them. You will need to refrain from taking over while you are talking to the other person. Remind them that if it’s too much, you can take another time out.
- Now, make a return. Within 24 hours, return to the “scene of the crime” so to speak. Now you will speak to the other person with whom you were disagreeing. Remember, you want to speak for your parts, not from them. Speaking from your triggered parts will only create more unhappiness.
A guided meditation to help you meet and talk to triggered parts
I made a free guided mindfulness meditation to help you with making you-turns. From a calm and meditative state you can get to know these difficult parts and help them loosen their firm grip on you.