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Conquering your ‘red light’ reactions

October 15, 2012

Are you often accused of being defensive?  Defensive reactions are instinctive, a move to protect ourselves, but in the long term they can damage our relationships with other people.

In her book “The Five Keys To Mindful Communication”, marriage and family therapist Susan Gillis Chapman describes the impact of ‘red light’ reactions:

“When we react to fear by shutting down the channel of communication, we’ve put up a defensive barrier that divides us from the world.  In our mind, we justify our defensively by holding on to unexamined opinions.  We tell ourselves that relationships are not that important.  We undervalue other people and put our self-interest first…

“Because our strategies can’t possibly succeed, we become disappointed with people.  We suffer, and we cause others to suffer.”

Does this sound like you?

If so, the first step towards more open communication can be to remember a time when a friend or loved one has behaved toward you in a similar way, Chapman says.  How powerless did it make you feel?  Are you ready to try a new style of communication?

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