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Relationship expert Terry Real spills the beans on this small, simple trick that can really impact any relationship positively. The trick is how you react to ‘the whoosh’.
When you use these effective ways to find a partner and finally land a cutie, you do what you can to keep that relationship healthy. Well, how you (and your partner) react to ‘the whoosh’ is a key part of keeping it strong.
What the hell is ‘the whoosh’?
It’s that hot rush of emotional pain that rushes over you after someone says or does something dismissive or offensive .
So, let’s say you’ve been prepping a really nice dinner for your partner. You’ve put the laundry away, you picked out their favorite food and worked over a hot oven to make sure food was ready in time for their arrival.
When they get home and take a bite, they say something slightly off-putting and critical. The ‘whoosh’ is that feeling that rushes over you when something hurts your feelings and it feels like a wave of emotion floods you.
Your chest can feel hot, your heart beat can rise and you might have the urge to snap something snarky right back at them.
That, my friends, is the whoosh.
This isn’t even restricted to romantic interests, either. It happens in our relationships with our family members and it even happens with our colleagues!
Why does the whoosh happen?
What’s actually happening during the whoosh is our brainstem being activated. This is a primitive part of the brain that’s meant to ensure survival similar to fight or flight.
In fact, the whoosh can take less than 1/12th of a second, says Juliane Taylor Shore who specializes in interpersonal neurobiology.
Although this part of our brain is super helpful for physical dangers like an encounter with a mountain lion, it’s not necessarily helpful for our human relationships since it doesn’t take into consideration the other person nor their feelings. Snapping right back at someone will just spiral into a fight leaving both of you miserable and nothing actually solved.
In the dinner scenario, you might want to be snarky with a comment like ‘well, at least I made you dinner!’ but odds are, the person won’t really hear you since you’re not actually communicating properly, either.
Your partner could have had a bad day and their comment might have just been a projection of that.
So here’s what you need to do when the whoosh happens:
Step away (mentally and physically) from the situation and take a breather.
This will let you wait for your more evolved senses to kick in.
During this calming time is when you’ll be able to recognize what’s happening. Once you’re calm, you can formulate a thoughtful response to how their comment or lack of respect made you feel.
Why should you do this?
- Stepping back will allow you to look at the entire situation from both sides. You’ll be able to approach the person in a way that gives you what you need but that will also let the other person hear you.
- You aren’t only doing your relationship a favor but you’re also learning to self-regulate better. If you’re able to get a handle of your ‘whooshes’ it can also help the other person learn to deal with their own ‘whooshes’ too! Which is, honestly, probably why they did or said that thing that hurt you in the first place.
3-steps for calming down the whoosh
Be aware the whoosh happening!
That comment about dinner really hurt my feelings, it felt very unappreciative of the time I spent making something nice. It definitely triggered me.
- Cool down:
Step away physically/emotionally!
I’m going to let him know I need to go to the bathroom so I have a few minutes alone to calm down. He must be in a bad mood and maybe it isn’t about me at all. Maybe his presentation went awful and he had a bad day.
- End goal.
Figure out what your goal in confronting this person will be!
Whether or not he’s had a bad day, I’m going to voice my opinion! My feelings matter! I’ll let him know calmly that I put effort into making a lovely dinner and that what he said was hurtful. I’m also going to ask him about his day, to get to the source of what’s actually happening and to strengthen our relationship.
This will take practice. Even realizing you’re experiencing a whoosh is an art in and of itself. Once you get that down, start to remember what the steps are. It’s simple: awareness, stepping back/cooling off, and figuring out the goal of the convo you want to have and how to approach it!
Communication is key, baby! Especially when you’re feeling a whoosh!
What are your other tips on how to better communicate with your partner?
H/T: Psychology Today
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