For those of you who have wondered “why do I do that?” we now have answers. We now know that our nervous system has a pattern that is established in the womb and reinforced over years of conditioning. We each have a unique nervous system signature. It is developed in utero based on your Mothers emotional states as she is carrying the baby. It is further shaped by the interactions that baby and then child have going forward in life.
Steven Porges, PhD has helped us further understand how our nervous system functions with the Polyvagal Theory. This theory helps us better understand how our nervous system can hijack us, making us respond to our environment in ways we feel are out of our control. This theory gives us a map of the Vega nerves which originate in the brain and connect to our entire body. We now understand when there has been a small or large trauma to the nervous system it stores the memory of this trauma. When a similar event occurs our nervous system may respond in what appears to be an overreaction. This is caused by past experience meeting the current experience.
Thus, Viktor Frankl’s quote is guiding us to understand these reactions and learn how to create a space between the event and the reaction. When this space is available to us we can choose to respond to our environment differently. This is the beauty of understanding who we are and learning how to work with our nervous system to change how we respond to life.