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10 Conscious-Love Guidelines to Sidestep Reactivity

mindful relationship photoWhat is conscious-love talk? It’s talking, consciously, with intent to purposefully connect and be present to your purpose for talking. Or, the reason you are taking action to talk.

Purpose is about relating at higher level of consciousness, one that serves to connect you more deeply to life in and around you. Words to human beings matter. Neuroscience tells us we have an intimate relationship with words. Our words can serve a higher purpose in making us feel closer to a loved one, or they can tear us apart.  When you speak consciously aware, you connect to the hardwired value system that exists in every human being. You are wired to matter.

Even the most basic words, for example, “how are you,” can be spoken with purposeful connection in such as way that both speaker and listener grow in the light of them, even if the words are spoken in situations of a disagreement or situation charged with emotions of stress, fear or anger.

What is survival-love talk?

Purposeful talking is the opposite of reactive or defensive talk. It also means to take the reins of emotions as you feel them, to disallow them to intensify and become reactive, impulsive, defensive. What does the word reactive or defensive mean to you? Stressful or aggressive action? It means to push against, pressure, shock. Think about the highest goal of speaking with conscious-love, and allow the definition to sink in. See it in your imagination. Then see what different outcomes are produced if you, instead, speak to push against, force, attack?

Your brain’s “mirror neurons” and The Golden Rule

This is an unalterable reality wired into our biology and automatically regulated by the “mirror neurons” in our brain.

When we consciously listen to understand the other, we better understand ourselves. And vice versa. When we honor the boundaries of the other, we honor our own. When we become aware of the power and impact of our words, we engage the best of what it means to be fully human in every interaction. Yes, the process is easier said than done. It cannot be yours without effort, struggle and accepting that you, and the other, will make errors, mistakes, experience setbacks.

1. Set intention to “do something different.”

Remind yourself that, to serve your higher interests and intentions to relate more meaningfully, remain aware and ready to respond differently. When you do, you create new neurons and pathways to replace “old programs” in your own brain (and partner’s).

2. Give the benefit of the doubt.***

Avoid jumping to conclusions, making judgments, negative forecasts, etc., and instead consider finding some way to stay compassionately connected to your partner, possibly a legitimate explanation for the other’s actions or viewpoints? And keep in mind, this does not mean you “agree”; just that you can also see the other’s perspective.

3. Find the understandable part. 

Look to connect and understand the other’s feelings and core need(s), or emotion-drives. The foundation of trust and love is built on mutual understanding of one another. This fulfills human core emotion-drives to be seen, recognized, known, among others.

4. Connect and express what need is driving your upset.

Express your feelings and needs in a way that supports you to remain relatively calm, and invites your partner to do the same.

5. Offer assurance.

Assure your partner that you understand where they are coming from, that their actions or viewpoint make sense at some level. And remind yourself that assurance or understanding does not equal agreement.

6. Ask partner to work with you.

Invite your partner to  find a win-win way of talking and resolving an that respects both of your feelings and needs about an issue.

7. Remain confident, calm and centered.

Set an intention to maintain a 3-C state of mind and body, that is: Calm, Confident, and Centered. This keeps you in the present moment, observing your breath, speaking of self as a person of value, dignity, honoring your emotional needs, yearnings, dreams, etc.

8. Maintain your calm if you need to stand up for yourself to abort reactivity

Stand up for self, in event partner gets reactive, i.e., dismissive, and do so in a way that honors the dignity of self and the other. To the best of your ability, resolve to never break this rule.

9. Disengage or push away and postpone to a later time (if reactivity continues).

Walk away, after briefly stating why and calling both of you to disengage and return to talking, at a later time, when both have taken time to restore own sense of calm, confidence, compassion for self and other.

10. Avoid getting too serious – stay lighthearted!

Remain light-hearted, avoid taking self or situation too seriously, maintain a hopeful manner that conveys messages of “I..You..We can do this!” or “We can do anything we put our mind to!” or “Now that we know better, we CAN do better.” Remind yourselves and one another that you and your relationship are worth making quality changes in how you relate.

10 Conscious-Love Guidelines to Sidestep Reactivity

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2020). 10 Conscious-Love Guidelines to Sidestep Reactivity. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 May 2020
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