Why a de-escalating attitude is appropriate in a quarantine situation is self-explanatory, isn’t it? I can’t imagine if I let my impatience or my frustration run free! This never leads to good decisions and actions.
The importance of relationships was a topic I addressed yesterday and this reminder of everything that does not escalate continues this aspect. So what does this mean exactly?
For you in contact with others it means
- try to listen
- try to ask and understand
- try to clarify any discrepancies in order to prevent conflict
For yourself, de-escalating means to think and act:
- allow yourself to allow your feelings like joy, sadness and discover their finiteness – it will pass!
- you are allowed to be slower, weaker, more direct or insufficient than you actually want to be – allow yourself to take the stress out of your personal drivers!
For me, one of the great ways to do this is to assume that there is a positive intention behind every behavior. This assumption goes back to Virginia Satir (systemic family therapist and founder of the Mental Research Institute in Paolo Alto). She was able to reinterpret the beliefs and beliefs of her clients and thus initiate pattern breaks. Satir went so far as to consider any description that is not appreciative as false. She gives a new framework to what we perceive as wrong / disturbing or pejorative. Its so-called rule transformation is like a reframing:
Consider such behavior as following a rule that may have had a good meaning in another context. Which context could that be? Interpret the mismatch as an error about the nature of the context. And now support your counterpart (or yourself) to find an interpretation that is more appropriate to the current context. You distinguish the meaning and evaluation of an action from the description of the action itself.
I am better able to do this kind of thinking, reinterpreting and dealing with the threat of escalation when I have taken a deep breath and do not react directly! Walk around the block once (okay, I’ll do that symbolically now or I’ll go up and down the staircase 3 times!) or really sleep one night and only continue the conversation the following day. Or use my rule of thumb: first find at least 2 other contexts of (disturbing) behaviour so that you can get involved in new explanations during the conversation.
Give it a try – but be careful: this exercise is mind-expanding