There has been a lot on my mind lately. All of this thinking has, therefore, caused me lots of feelings. And judging by the actions of what is going on in the world right now, people all over the world are feeling their feelings. Lots of them. I’m guessing you are, too. But, are you choosing your emotions, or mirroring other peoples’ emotion?
What I see going on in the world, and on social media, and similarly, in my own home, is a lot of mirroring.
What is Mirroring?
Mirroring is a natural part of human behavior.
If left unmanaged, our brains will inadvertently take on, or mimic, the emotions of those around us. It is funny, because the lower brain somehow finds this useful.
When the brain subconsciously mirrors, it believes that it is creating a better sense of engagement. In other words, the brain believes it is creating an improved sense of belonging and understanding of the person we are interacting with.
Mirroring Positive and Negative Emotions
This can be very true, when we mirror positive emotions.
However, when we mirror negative emotions, we usually create a bigger problem.
It looks like this:
- Maybe there is a person who reacts to the anger they might be feeling and behaves in a way we don’t agree with…
- After that, a group of people start to fight their anger with more anger (rioters)…
- Before you know it, more people get angry with the angry rioters.
Anger + Anger only equals more Anger.
Judgement + Judgement only equals more Judgement.
Criticism + Criticism only equals more Criticism.
Most of the time we aren’t even aware of our unconscious mirroring.
So, the cycle goes on and on. Each of reacting to what we see others doing and saying.
My Goal for the Week
So, my goal this week has been to love and hold space for ALL of the people in the story,
I Read a Post that Made Me Feel Personally Attacked
I was actually doing really well with this, until I read a post that made me feel personally attacked.
Now, the Certified Life Coach in me knows that a post can’t actually make me feel attacked… rather, that it is my thoughts about her post that makes me feel that way.
Regardless, I automatically wanted to mirror her anger with anger.
Why it Makes Sense
It makes sense, actually. I’m a human with a human brain.
But, could I find a place where I could even honor her opinion, even her angry opinion of what I believe?
Yes. I can.
I don’t have to let my brain run on auto pilot.
I made a choice.
And you can too.
We Get to Choose
How are you mirroring those around you? Your siblings, your parents, your mission companion, your roommates? Your brain thinks matching emotion for emotion is useful, however, you can choose another way.
In conclusion, if you are mirroring, one of the very first steps is becoming aware that you are. Just this awareness alone, has the ability to truly diffuse many situations. It is best to slow it all down and really notice the mirroring. When we do, we get to take a step back and really intentionally decide how we want to feel and behave.
Listen. Learn. Love.
No more mirroring negative emotions…
Listen. Learn. Love… Yourself.
Listen. Learn. Love…. Others.
Not just the ones you agree with… But, ALL of the people in the story.
Yep. All of them.
That is the real challenge…
But, it is the only way any of this will ever change.
I’m all in.