Ep. 3 | Start when things are small.
In this episode we discuss two closely related adages: “Start when things are small” and “Stimulus 2, Response 10” (which is what generally happens when you don’t start when things are small). Natalie shares a bunch stories about how these two adages play a role in her relationships and bears her testimony of the powers of CBD.
When dealing with issues in a relationship it is always easier to start when they are small. By this I mean: speak your truth as soon as something bothers you. If you have a conversation at the beginning of an issue, you can can deal with it more effectively.
It’s kind of like when you see your closet getting messy. You watch it and think: ”I really should organize.” Instead, you just pack in more stuff and close the door. Eventually, you can’t even open your closet without being overwhelmed and anxious! If you would have just folded that sweater and hung up that pair of pants in the first place, you’d have a much smaller problem!
When someone does something you don’t like, or hurts your feelings, if you don’t let them know right away, they will probably keep doing it. This can go on for years! And the hurt feelings build and build and finally you freak out. The other party in the relationship will probably be surprised – the usual response is: “What’s your problem?” You have to back track, explain, give examples and get way too upset! The other person also gets upset because, while this has been going on for years to you, it is seemingly coming out of nowhere for them. (This leads right into the adage “Stimulus 2, Response 10!”)
See, isn’t this a lot more work than if you had just said something the FIRST time it happened? Stay mindful, be in the here and now, and nip these unpleasant situations in the bud!
Let’s say there was a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being “no big deal” and 10 being “total freak out”. Essentially, ‘Stimulus 2, Response 10’ is when something happens that is in reality a 2 and your response or the response that you get from your partner is at a level 10. A complete over-reaction. Totally out of proportion to the thing that happened. The situation becomes totally unproductive and there is no hope for a Kindred conversation.
Why does this happen?
Stimulus 2, Response 10 is a bit like post traumatic stress. When something brings up feelings for us that have been there in the past, those feelings are amplified through cellular memory, creating a much greater response to the stimuli than is appropriate.
So how do you keep yourself from blowing things out of proportion?
1. Address things when they are small, with the appropriate level response. When the stimulus is 2, respond at 2 and respond quickly. Don’t let a situation linger until it becomes something bigger than it should be.
2. If you sense that you’re blowing something out of proportion. Stop. Just stop and take a moment to dial your reaction back to an appropriate level. This will start to come more naturally over time, but the first step is just being aware of your reaction and mindful of whether or not you’re at the appropriate level.
3. And if you’re on the receiving end, remember that 99% of the time, it’s not about you. When your partner is upset, quiet, stressed, or angry, (or conversely, when your partner is happy or excited), it’s really not about you. Sorry. But it’s not. So try to find out what is REALLY going on so that it doesn’t escalate. Or don’t. Because it’s not about you anyway.
Natalie gets a good night’s sleep thanks to the power of CBD! If you’re local, check out Koo De Gras – high quality CBD and the owner is a lovely woman.
Sharing is caring
Natalie was privileged to hear Tom Rath speak a few years ago about prioritizing meaning (vs. just happiness) and putting your health first in your life. He highlighted the importance of vacations, and this was such a powerful thought that she hasn’t forgotten it and TBH she will probably talk about this on the podcast more than once:
“It turned out that looking forward to a vacation or event provided even more happiness than the event itself.”- Tom Rath
Learn more in Tom Rath’s Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work
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The Kindred Conversation
Karen Kindred, LCSW
Produced by: Leanna House
Music: Helsinki by Pleasant Pictures Music Club