Our lightning fast emotional reactions might serve us well sometimes or they might get us in big trouble.
Anyone who’s gotten a checkup at the doctor knows what their reflexes are. As soon as the doctor hits your knee with that little rubber mallet she can make your leg jump. Our emotions have reflexes too.
There are all sorts of rubber mallets out there too. Think of when a police car appears behind you with her lights and sirens flashing. That flash of dread? Your emotional reflex.
Some emotional reflexes are appropriate. If you’re under real threat that fight or flight jolt of anxiety can help you take action fast.
Usually though with the situations we face day-to-day are not life threatening. That doesn’t mean that our emotional reflexes don’t fire. It just means that we have to have them, metabolize them, and then choose what action we take.
Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for us.
What are the mallets that hit your emotional reflexes? Are your responses helping you or hurting you? If your emotional reflexes are distressing you and you’re making bad (for you) choices, there’s your work.