Below every hot button

We all have hot button issues that evoke embarrassing over-reactions. Hot buttons are also called sore points, touchy subjects or sacred cows. When a hot button gets pushed, we lose consciousness and self control. We can be described as getting "thrown for a loop", "losing our cool" or "getting tongue tied". We no longer comprehend what is meant by the words being said to us. We stop feeling compatible, safe and open to the person who pushed our hot button. We even lose our composure that supports our ability to speak coherently and think clearly. We blush, stammer and avoid eye contact.

We acquire hot buttons by internalizing abuse. We get shot down when we speak our mind, express our feelings or see things differently from others. We then "take a bullet" that gets us to feel deviant, defective or deficient. We come under the impression that we don't fit in, meet others' standards or deserve their admiration. We become afraid to cover that ground again, endure mention of the topic or face the consequences of bringing that to others' attention again.

Mentoring goes below these hot buttons to change the wiring. Reactions that have been hard-wired for a long time become new choices to consider. Patterns of over-reacting to provocations change into better questions to ask, issues to consider and conduct to allow. We find it within ourselves to let go of feeling antagonized. We realize new tolerance to live and let others live as they choose. What set us off before becomes something we understand, accept and take philosophically. We complicate what we were over-simplifying. We say things like: "it takes both", "it depends on the situation", "it's not that simple really", or "it's a passing phase".

Any hot button reveals how it will evolve into acceptance. We get so upset because we care so much. We over-react to an issue because it's our destiny to take this issue forward in some way. We get hurt by misunderstanding because we are going to be exceptionally understanding about this idea. Here are some examples:
  • Getting outraged by disrespect reveals a calling to exude self-respect and invite others respect their own feelings, perceptions and sense of purpose.
  • Getting upset by intolerance reveals a passion for diversity, multi-culturalism, or maintenance of inclusive communities.
  • Getting inflamed by arrogance reveals diplomatic abilities to open closed minds, dismantle bigotry and soften partisan stances
  • Getting incensed by passivity reveals the potential for great endurance, determination and conquest of adversity
When seen in this light, mentors bring out the best in others who are getting their hot buttons pushed. We see how the problem has the solution imbedded in it. We anticipate the good that will come of the painful pattern. We go below each hot button to the underlying passion, purpose or trait that awaits fulfillment.

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