It wasn’t my fault! The doctor made me do it!

Remember going to the doctor and having him whack you on the knee with that little, rubber hammer? If you had normal reflexes, your leg would kick out, seemingly of it’s own volition. It was, for all intents and purposes, an uncontrolled response. In medical terms, they call this something technical involving the patella and other medical-y terms, but we’ve come to know it as the “knee-jerk reaction”.

Knee-jerk reactions: not just for doctors any more!

The term, “knee-jerk reaction” has come into common parlance to describe behavior which is rooted in an event which resulted in an emotional response, and which when faced with a similar situation, even years later, elicits the same unthinking, purely emotional response. So what do we as reasonable, thinking adults do about it?

Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

It would be nice if we could just affirm that we would no longer elicit that reaction, regardless of the provocation, but sadly, it’s not that simple. Knee-jerk reactions are deeply rooted in events which caused us a great deal of emotional distress. As a result, they’re pretty well cemented into our psyche until we find a way to release the trauma induced upon us by the initial event. {You analytical types are going to love this part!}

To clear your palate, if you will, of this distasteful, and usually destructive behavior pattern, you have to jump into your wayback machine and go back to when the particular knee-jerk reaction began. Look at what was happening, how you were feeling, other mitigating factors, and anything else that might have caused you to react without thinking. Look at every thread and analyze how it attaches to the emotional reaction you want to clear. One by one, with the precision of a surgeon, each condition must be detached from the emotion. Each stress factor must lose its connection with the emotion that caused the reaction. Then, and only then, can you begin to train yourself to think before acting when faced with any combination of the original factors.

I’m a strong, intelligent adult! Of course I can train myself to think before acting!

Good luck with that. Many have tried, but the truth is, we are emotional beings, not robots. No matter how intellectually gifted a person might be, when faced with stress factors on top of those nasty emotions like anger, frustration, hurt and others which lead to painful outbursts, they will, at least on occasion, react without thinking. Sorry folks, but it’s in our DNA. And speaking from one who’s been there all too often, those emotional outbursts do not end well, and never help you make your case!

Sure, you could remove all stress from your life so you’re never driven over the edge by something stupid, but really, do you want to live your life encased in bubble wrap? Life is messy. Get used to it. Things don’t always work the way we want them to. Learn from your failures. And emotions aren’t always a bad thing; but you can’t have the good without the bad. It’s called “balance”.

So pick a knee-jerk reaction, any knee-jerk reaction, and begin the process of analyzing and severing the emotional ties. Help make the world a more agreeable place!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I’m finally learning to listen to the quieter signals my body has been eliciting.
2. I am grateful for a doctor who isn’t going to just push a pill at me and send me on my way.
3. I am grateful for peeks into what makes me tick, and the ability to make changes, ever so slowly, if necessary.
4. I am grateful for new connections who bring me new lessons.
5. I am grateful for abundance, available to all, simply for the asking: love, joy, health, harmony, peace and health.

Namaste

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