Antennas and Peace
Bugs have antennas.
Do you know what they are used for? Antennas are the feelers on a bug’s head-a sensory wand the insect waves around to check out its surroundings. Another definition of antennas are the wires that receive and conduct electromagnetic waves, typically to transmit information.
I think we, humans, have antennas, and sometimes they are used for good and sometimes, not so good.
I have spoken, in previous articles, about external and internal locus of control.
Someone with an external locus of control is someone whose antennas are outward, bumping into everyone around, picking up information that is usually misleading or wrong. Their cues are misleading and their instincts are driven by something within this person such as insecurity or self-doubt.
These people tend to gossip about others and seek or notice faults in others and take pride in broadcasting such. These are the people that feel that they sense or know something about someone else, either how they are feeling or what they are thinking about a certain topic. They will then approach that person in a not nice way asking what is wrong but really looking for a fight, confrontation or drama to support their already decided upon ending.
Their antennas are always pointed outward looking for the negative or the bad in others. Their own accountability or ownership of the situation or of its outcome is lost and all focus is on the subject that is stirring their emotions.
Again, what is usually stirring their emotions is insecurity, self-doubt, a need to feel needed, a sense of loss of something or just plain meanness, however, due to their antennas being outward, this person lacks the insight to realize this.
When antennas are pointed outward and you are approached by this type of person, the outcome most likely will not be one of peace but of struggle. The other person is attempting to make his/herself feel better in making you feel badly or question yourself.
It really is a lose-lose situation. It is most definitely a lose-lose situation if you have your antennas pointed outward also. Yours will get tangled up with the other person’s antennas and nothing will get accomplished.
So how do you persevere with someone like this?
You find your own peace.
You do what, in your own being, you know is right. You find peace in your response.
Notice I said response and not reaction. In dealing with a person coming at you with antennas swinging in your direction, you have to respond and not react. Responding is using your mind and thinking part of your brain, where reacting is driven by your emotions. Keep it simple but direct. You do not have to own whatever they are tossing at you, unless you feel there is some ownership to be had on your part.
You also do not have to get angry and mean back. Remember that this really is not about you but about the other person. They don’t need to walk away feeling worse than they must already feel since their primary objective is to somehow make you feel badly and you absolutely do not need to feel badly when the core issue has nothing to do with you.
This is not easy to remember when you are feeling trapped, cornered or accused of things, but this is when self-talk can save the day. Stop trying to one up the other person’s jabs and remain calm in your head. Stop thinking of things to say back to this person to “get them”.
Instead, speak to yourself, in your head, during the conversation with the other person. Remind yourself to “respond don’t react”.
Believe me this works and you will walk away with peace inside yourself for handling yourself well in a difficult situation with a difficult person and not having made the other person feel worse.
Your antennas need to be inward during this discussion and not matching the other person’s antennas which will continue to be outward attempting to find any little piece of corroborating evidence to support their mindset.
When your antennas are inward you are in an internal locus of control state, meaning you are aware of yourself, your body language, facial expressions, tone and volume of voice, words, etc. You are in constant control of yourself and not being controlled or led by others. You are accountable for your mistakes. You carry yourself well in times of conflict because you are not looking to fault someone but to honestly come to some sort of resolution or peace with someone else.
You are not bumping into barriers or obstacles that can be present in relationships such as insecurities, self-doubt, anger, blame, resentment and many more that can be there when antennas are outward. This does not occur because your antennas are inward and if these things are present you are recognizing them and dealing with them yourself and not casting blame onto someone else.
Does this mean you do not have issues with others? Does this mean you don’t get mad at others?
No. It means you are able to see what role you may play in the issues that may be there and you are willing to own that role and tell the other person how you are feeling from a healing perspective and not an attack perspective.
There is a quote I like that says “If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else”.
People who operate from an external locus of control with their antennas in everyone else’s business and thinking they know things the other person does not yet know about themselves do not have peace. They are looking at finding peace by blaming others for their own misfortunes and misery.
Take a look at how you handle things. Are you angry or peaceful? Are you hurtful or peaceful? Are you unhappy or at peace? Is your goal to stir up drama or to make peace?
We are in control of how we handle what life and others throw our way. Choose peace. Choose kindness (even to the unkind). Choose inward antennas. You just may see a different outcome for yourself and you may help others to do the same.
Kari Swanson is a Master’s level clinician with 25 years of working in the mental health field. She is the founder of CORE-Choosing Openness Regarding Experiences which is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide mental health awareness and suicide prevention education to Warren County.