Recently several clients shared with me how they quickly lost perspective and got very reactive in fairly innocent situations. Plus, not only did they overreact, but they beat themselves up about it afterward, which only served to reinforce the mistaken premise of the initial reactivity. What does that mean?
I’ll explain. I think this will be a very familiar scenario for most of us in a relationship.
Basic Recipe for Creating a Mountain out of a Molehill
1. First, be mentally and physically speedy – don’t be still
2. Make sure you keep stirring things up: thoughts, feelings
3. Assume the other person should be able to read your mind and understand exactly what you mean
4. Communicate vaguely. Don’t slow down to consider if you’re making sense
Once you have all these ingredients, just keep stirring. If you do all of the above, you can expect the molehill to quickly grow. You have followed the steps correctly if:
5. Your vague communication creates a misunderstanding
6. Your good intentions are taken by the other person to be bad intentions
7. You assume this is unfair and feel hurt
8. You throw accusations back at them
9. Neither of you comes to your senses
10. Before you is a mountain of misery!
Of course I don’t recommend that you follow this recipe. But sometimes it’s good to introduce a little humor when we’re looking at our common patterns. I have certainly created some mountains in my time.
When all the ingredients are present, it doesn’t take much overreacting to make a mountain out of a molehill. But there are ways to counteract these overreactions – effortlessly!
Contemplating our common reactive patterns in relationships inspired my June-July 4-part webinar: The 4 Effortless Ways to Regain Balance and Joy. Join us and learn how to easily and effortlessly avoid wasting a lot of time in needless pain and confusion, aka making mountains out of molehills.