Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pause First

I am finally starting to learn this lesson. It is one I've been struggling with for my entire adult life.

Something challenging happens. I have an internal emotional reaction and then an immediate external response occurs. Often times, the response isn't productive.

Building in a PAUSE after the internal emotional reaction is easier said than done.

I've practiced it over and over and over again for many years. It's important to note that I've failed many, many, many times over the years.

What I'm finding now, is that all my repeated attempts to practice building in the pause is starting to pay off.

I wrote yesterday about the false alarm I experienced in my house, and in my head about an unexpected work requirement. I'm happy to say that I delayed any outer response to the news and by the time I did respond, I was in a totally different space! The 'reaction' I had internally was completely out of proportion with reality. It took a little time to see that, and then I was able to respond to the actual situation, and not the 'invented' one in my head. What a relief!

A friend of mine told me the following idea a long time ago:

"Immediacy of emotion does NOT necessitate immediacy of action."

I don't know who said it first, but I have used this as a mantra for the past many years.

I offer it to you as a practice. When you have any strong, negative internal reaction, remind yourself of this very true principle and build in a pause. Let the situation be. Reflect on it a bit and settle down. Take no action immediately. Give yourself time for your thinking to clear. Then, and only then, craft your response!

If you've ever over reacted to something... or made a situation worse by how you handled it, this is great practice for you to undertake!

Build in a pause... and see how much more smoothly your life unfolds!