Relationship expert Alison Armstrong says we all have two natures — human spirit (the elevated part) and human animal (the more primitive part, the instinctive part that lashes out, often in primal fear of scarcity or competition).
When men and women perceive a threat to their survival, they respond by instinct (a primal biological urge compelling a response that relieves tension).
If you’re experiencing tension, you’re likely reacting instinctively from your caveman or cavewoman.
I’m thinking about the Alexander Technique. It helps us live in response, not in reaction. Many of our unthoughtful reactions to stimuli do not serve us. Many of our habits are destructive. When we live in the past or in the future, we stop being aware of what’s around us right now and we instinctively tighten our muscles.
When we perceive a threat to our well-being, we typically go into fight or flight reflex. That means the head juts forward and rotates back, compressing the neck, the shoulders ride high, and the back tenses and shortens. This is a fine position to fight out of or to launch a hasty retreat, but as a daily response to ordinary stimuli, it is not helpful. We need to let go of these habitual reactions, these instincts, if we’re to free our necks and to lengthen and widen our torsos while choosing to act with poise.
I remember going on a long drive with my girlfriend of the time. I turned on the Dallas Cowboys game. She felt bad that she no longer had my full attention. So she lashed out by saying she was thinking of hooking up with someone else.
When she said this, I was upset, but I was driving. I could not lose my cool. So I tried to free my neck and to think up through my torso and I did not lash back. “Yeah, you do?” I said.
And a couple of minutes later, she apologized. She said she missed having my full attention.
It was half-time of the game so for the next 12 minutes, I gave her my full attention.