In mediation, we encourage respect between all parties. It's not always easy, but the positive outcomes that result are worth the effort. How is this achieved?
Everyone has different shades of personality. In good moments people behave in one way and during intense moments they can act like completely different people. These dramatic shifts have a lot to do with our physiology. The tendency to fight, flight or freeze when feeling fearful is an artefact of our ancient DNA. Once upon a time our physical survival depended on these types of reactions. But, these 'primal' reactions aren't necessary for most of us anymore. Yet, we fall victim to them unless we really pay attention and intentionally make better choices.
As a matter of fact, switching into a primal state of fear literally shuts down the intelligent, thoughtful parts of the brain. Have you ever looked back on a decision you made when you were angry or really sad and asked yourself, "What the heck was I thinking?!" Exactly. You weren't really thinking rationally at all, right?
Understandably, this is the type of scenario we want to avoid in Mediation. You want to negotiate your best agreement possible; one that has the best outcomes for the children and for you and your ex moving forward. Emotions of fear, anger, bitterness and revenge can really make a mess of things. It's not that you're not 'entitled' to your emotions, but you must take responsibility for how they affect your ability to make good decisions. If you haven't seen Will Smith's video on this yet, you need to. Here's a link:
What do you need to bring yourself back to a stable, rational mindset when negative emotions start getting triggered? A few deep breaths, a 5 minute walk, thinking about something that makes you happy?
Tune into yourself in the days leading up to your mediation and intentionally make a plan for how you'll return to a better state of mind should you start reacting. This is not only beneficial in negotiating, it can lead to better mental and physical health and increased productivity in all areas of your life.
While in mediation, if you find yourself emotionally triggered and unable to come back into a peaceful state of mind, there's nothing wrong with requesting a short break or to move on to a different topic. By taking the high road in this, you'll save yourself considerable grief in the moment and you'll prevent a negative outcome that could haunt you for years to come.
Bring your Best Self to the table at mediation and practice being aware of your state of mind in your everyday life. Your Best Self can negotiate the best agreements and that's what you need as you begin to stack the building blocks of the new life that only you can create for yourself.