Process Skills: Even a lifetime of negative conditioning can be redirected positively!

A graduate writes to her Process classmates, about a “Process Moment” two years out from her Process. She has put her new Process skills in all caps. Here is her post:

Have you ever sent an e-mail and been bitten by the unintended reception to your “tone?” Well, that has happened to me before and it just happened again. I was able, however, to PROCESS my emotional reaction to the emotional reaction provoked by my unintended “tone” and rationally, and SWIFTLY (!!) took a decidedly more constructive course of action than I would have pre-Process.

Here is what happened:

  • Received an e-mail announcement
  • Sent “reply all” with critical comments, intended to be constructive, but was perceived as negative and destructive (hasty, poor choice #1)
  • Received a personal email informing me that my tone was condescending and to “consider the consequences of my words and actions”
  • I reacted emotionally to that and started to reply (via e-mail): nearly a bad idea
  • I STOPPED TO THINK ABOUT IT MORE and realized that I could WRITE AND NOT SEND the e-mail to avoid fanning the flames
  • I WAS ABLE TO SEE THE CONSEQUENCES OF MY ACTIONS, and found a better way to express my good intentions, what I learned, and my regret at causing distress
  • I SOUGHT OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE from an appropriate party, got support
  • I drafted a reply and, while waiting for feedback from this appropriate party, was able to diffuse the intensity of my own emotional reaction to being perceived as condescending and reflected on the cause of that misperception to avoid it in the future.
  • I was able to LET GO of the toxic stress that the Pre-Process me would have carried for a long time unnecessarily 

After getting positive feedback on the draft reply, and after having sat with it for a day, I was able to REPLY POSITIVELY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY to the person whom I’d unwittingly offended. That paved the way for a different, calmer, and friendlier dynamic between us when I approached her the next day to apologize and make peace. It was such a huge relief when she smiled instead of scowling at me and I think she really heard my genuinely felt apology and we smoothed things over.

Thank you to all of you for backing me up in my moment of triumph over challenge. It helps to amplify the good moments by sharing them with you all instead of fixating on all the things that I did “wrong.” It’s good to know that even a lifetime of negative conditioning can be redirected positively! That is a genuine relief.

Emily P., Process Graduate 2011. Original emails to her classmates were written in 2013.