Interacting with people is complicated. We never truly know what another person is thinking, how they will interpret our words, or which emotions they are experiencing. And, while there are several behavioral cues which can tell us a lot about how someone likes to communicate and interact, the bottom line is that the only person we can control is ourselves.
The good news is that self-control, or Self-Regulation as we like to refer to it in the Emotional Intelligence realm, is incredibly powerful. In fact, after years of mentoring, coaching, and consulting, I have seen first-hand the life-changing differences that can occur when someone engages their power of self-regulation. The results can be super-human!
POW! BAM! KAPOW!
Our society has become increasingly reactive, and unfortunately often explosive. Few people take the time to truly think through obstacles, and instead, they over-react to even minor problems. Road rage has become a common occurrence. Fights on little-league fields involve people of all ages. And, let’s not even talk politics!
What if I told you that you have the power to successfully address any conflict, problem, or argument? You don’t need any special training. You don’t need any tools. You don’t even need a special suit. You just need to take three steps and you can unleash your superpower and skillfully manage situations such as:
- When you get angry
- When someone else gets angry
- When you disagree with someone
- When someone disagrees with you
- When your kids do something wrong
- When your spouse does something wrong
- When you do something wrong
- When you start thinking negative thoughts about any situation, experience, or person
- When you are hit with a problem and need a good solution
WHAT’S YOUR SUPERPOWER?
So, how do you become a superhero who overcomes the tallest problems in a single bound? Refrain. Reflect. Respond. These three steps are the best self-regulation techniques you can use, no matter what vulture, joker, or riddler is coming at you.
When someone or some thing upsets you, your first instinct may be to yell, kick, or throw something, but that will only make you look weak, and is likely to escalate the situation. Instead, put on your power cape and take control of the only thing you can – yourself. Remove yourself from the situation if necessary and take several deep breaths. Calm yourself down by focusing only on the sound of your slowing breathing. The most powerful hero isn’t the one who hits the hardest, it’s the one who uses his/her inner strength to benefit everyone involved.
Once your mind and heart have stopped racing, reflect on the situation and make a conscious decision to be a Super Hero who saves the day by searching for solutions instead of intensifying problems. If you are angry at your partner and can’t stop thinking about all the ways they have wronged you, make a list of all the things they have done right. Use your reflection time to find your inner empathy and try to see things from a different point of view. Turn on your x-ray vision and look beneath the surface of the situation to find commonalities instead of differences. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the hardest to see, so take time to really look and think.
If you’ve truly calmed your mind and emotions and used your brain and heart to identify constructive solutions, you are ready to come out of the bat cave and calmly respond, using your extraordinary powers to create a harmonious outcome. Gentle and composed, your response will set the tone for everyone else and inspire them to use their superhero powers, too.
UNLEASH YOUR POWER
Self-regulation is a dynamic power that can create a more fulfilling life at work and home while making the whole world a little nicer. You don’t need to put on a costume or have a secret identity to be a Superhero, you just need to unleash your power of EQ by practicing the 3 R’s of Self-Regulation. Although, having a special bracelet, hammer or ring would be cool!