Right now, people you care about are locked in a seemingly endless loops of negative emotions. The original triggering events probably ended a while ago but your people are reliving the pain over and over again. They need new narratives to get off the downward spirals. By bringing some fresh and constructive perspective to the situation, you can trigger new upward spirals.
What is the lifespan of a single fully felt emotion? It might not be as long as you think. A colleague familiar with the work of Jacob Moreno–inventor of a therapy called "Psychodrama"–pegged it between 12 and 14 seconds. This might seem very short to people in the midst of a major life struggle like launching a new venture or recovering from a relationship betrayal.
The root of the word emotion is to move. Emotions cause movement. The cycle begins with some trigger, often an external event (something that someone says or does) and the brain releases chemicals through the body. To feel an emotion is to feel something in our physical bodies causing us to react, and sometimes overreact.
Whether we experience an emotion is negative or positive comes down to the meaning we ascribe to the triggering event.
Given my history of emotional wounding, current desires and future plans, I will judge an event as good or bad and then go on to feel good or bad with the level of intensity that matches how good or bad I think the event is. Loss of a loved one? Very bad. Loss of a client? Bad. My local team gets bounced from the play offs? No affect. My favored political party wins the election? Good. My kid achieves something super cool? Very good.
So why do some emotions seem to last long after the external trigger has occurred? One explanation is that it is not a single emotion but a cascade of emotions: I constantly relive and refeel the triggering event internally by renewing the underlying thought pattern. The narrative or story becomes the internal trigger of the same emotional pattern.
Good support interrupts the old pattern of thinking with a new narrative.
Jeff Belford from Triwest Capital Partners considers his high purpose to be "bringing out the best in people." He and his firm invested in Terry Bendera and his team to commercialize a new semiautonomous service rig that increases utilization and gross margin while reducing injuring risk and ecological foot print. This venture is very challenging and provides Terry and his team with a continual stream of potentially negative triggers. But the two men have great chemistry and Jeff provides a sort of moral support to the team, helping them frame the narrative. This goes well beyond the simple act of writing a check. With Jeff's support Terry either preempts the triggers or recovers more quickly from them.
The quality of chemistry in a relationship determines the quality of support.
We go into intimate detail how this relationship works in the latest book in the blindspotting series. You can order yours here. Please share this article with someone that is struggling in a partnership or team.