Responding To A Nasty Email

by May 22, 2021Theme: Awakening To Love

Whenever we are attacked, our immediate response is either fight or flight. This acute stress reaction is usually triggered when we encounter something either mentally or physically terrifying. Our bodies release hormones to prepare us to stay and deal with a threat or run away from it. In the case of a physical threat, such as a fire in the house or a hungry lion about to attack, the fight-or-flight response can be beneficial. The imminent danger causes our bodies to go into high alert, which gives us that extra adrenaline to find a way to stay alive.

But the psychologically acute mental stress response is not actually rooted in a deadly threat against the body, but an attack on a person’s sense of self—their egoic mind. When someone criticizes, attacks, or pressures you, it activates anxiety, worry, and stress. You will either fight back in defense or run away from the conflict. Since each reaction is rooted in fear, it does not lead to inner freedom, nor does it lead to conflict resolution. In fact, it sinks you further into the claws of the ego, which alienates you from unconditional love.

But when you are conscious of divine love, your comeback to criticism and personal attacks is not motivated by a need to defend your sense of self. If you are wrong, then you just apologize. But if you are unjustly charged, then you know that the reason why the other is upset is less about you and more about their own inner conflict. What you said or did triggered fear, aroused insecurity, or provoked guilt in them. The ego in them then pushed back against what they perceived as a threat to their sense of self. Therefore, they attacked you since their fight-or-flight response mechanism was activated.

In some cases, love’s response is to not defend yourself, which only inflames both your and the attacker’s egos. So when someone sends you a nasty email, disagrees with your post on Facebook, or speaks poorly about you to others, you don’t get frazzled and defend yourself or attack them back. Silence is sometimes the best response to people’s bitterness and pain.

Adapted from David Youngren, Awakening To I Am Love: How Finding Your True Self Transforms Your Wellbeing, Relationships, and Whart You Do. (page 167)

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