Listen to Melissa, Jen, and Bridger discuss even deeper into Understanding, the second phase in the series of (RUAC).

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RUAC is a simple acronym created to help people know how to make sense of the process of their activation. It is a reminder to slow down and recognize what’s going on internally for you, then move on to understand your reaction and ultimately respond differently in the future. Commonly, especially at the beginning, this process occurs after the fact. Today, we are discussing Understand, the second phase in (RUAC).

Review of Recognize

  • The way you make sense of any type of activation is through your lived experience
  • Learning to slow down to look at situations, even if it’s in retrospectfully
  • Moving subconscious experiences into your conscious awareness

What does Understand mean? 

  • Understanding doesn’t mean assuming we know
  • Jumping to conclusions is counterproductive and isn’t true understanding
  • Requires a stance of curiosity rather than concluding
  • A deeper, broader view of why people are showing up the way they are
  • For our survival, we must be able to respond quickly and effectively
  • However, sometimes that hardwiring can affect our relationships negatively 
  • Our systems are learning to adapt to life’s new complexities
  • All those big quick reactions are going to continue to happen
  • Therefore, understanding is learning to navigate those reactions
  • Then, showing up after the fact to process those quick reactions

Virtual Others

  • Ghosts of our pasts
  • A past experience that left such a lasting impression on our body, mind, personality, or sense of self that it remains with us for the rest of our lives.
  • To clarify, the concept of virtual others is best explained by the intense emotional experiences we have within our relationships.
  • These experiences can be negative or positive
  • As virtual others’ voices become embedded in our minds, they often sound just like our own
  • The culture you’re immersed in can create ghosts
  • Furthermore, they can be created by how you move through life and how your environment meetse your needs as a child


  • In Bridger’s example, the child has a landmine around his experience of being without mom, which created activation, and in turn this activation collapsed his ability to carry out any behavior, leading to more anxiety
  • You’ve detected a landmine when your body responds the way it did during the initial experience

Disconfirming Experiences

  • It takes disconfirming experiences for the body and mind to reorganize 
  • Unfortunately, many disconfirming experiences aren’t integrated
  • This can be due to the body feeling unsafe during the experience
  • Or due to a lack of awareness of the disconfirming experience
  • Shame is the primary block to integration