Pause Before You Act

I’ve been told I have quick reflexes, I’ve also been told I can have a barbed tongue, so the combination of those two things made for a lot of lashing out with hair triggered responses. I’ve mentioned this before, but it always bares repeating, life is not a game show, we don’t get extra points for speed, so why not take a moment, take a breath, and pause before you act.

Before stepping on this path I left a lot of shrapnel in my wake, a lot of bodies, and a lot of damage, I was like a ticking time bomb all the time, and if you dared cross me I would go off without notice. That was an awful way to live. I always felt on edge, and I hurt a lot of people, unsuspecting people who never saw it coming. At the time I would always justify my behavior, telling myself that they shouldn’t have crossed me in the first place, or should have been smarter, or faster, but the truth of the matter was, I was acting impulsively and defensively without giving any thought to how my reactions would affect those around me. When I made a commitment to love and honor myself, I also made a commitment to do the same to those around me, and I had to learn to pause before I reacted. That took some time, as I always had my finger on the trigger, to loosen my grip felt like the most difficult thing to do, but I found freedom there, freedom to take a moment to think about my next move, what the next right thing was, and I learned that a lot of times I didn’t ever have to react at all, or have an answer, I could take a step back and relax until I had an appropriate response or answer.

It can be easy to lash out at someone who has hurt you, embarrassed you, or is disrespecting you, but when you do you’re not only punishing them you’re also punishing yourself. You’re continuing the cycle of hate, anger, and disrespect, it may feel good in the moment, but those actions stick with us, attach themselves to us, and just add more negativity to an already negative situation. As SLAYERS we stand tall in who we are, we honor and love ourselves, and we don’t add problems to existing problems, we, if we can, are examples of a better way, a more peaceful way, a way that is about solving problems, not creating them. And, it’s not about being pushovers, it is about setting boundaries, and letting people know how we expect to be spoken to, but also adhering to that and speaking to people in the same way we wish to be spoken to. Hence the pause. The pause gives us a moment to collect ourselves, to think things through, and to respond with grace, dignity, and compassion if we can. I know you might be thinking I’m crazy right now, but try it, see how it changes things and how you stay calmer, less angry, and more in control. It doesn’t matter what the other person, or people, are doing, what matters is how you react, that’s where you get to choose, and sometimes that takes some thought, and sometimes it takes checking in with someone else you trust before responding. As I said, life is not a game show, if you don’t feel you can respond with a rational mind, in an appropriate way, or are just not sure how you feel, pause, and don’t answer until you feel you are ready. Sometimes I have to say to someone that I’ll need to get back to them, or we’ll have to revisit the issue another time because I know I am emotional, or confused, or just too upset to talk in an open and compassionate way, that’s OK, better to wait then have to apologize for an outburst or angry comment later, pause, wait, respond when ready.

No one is timing you on how quickly you return a call, email, text, or comment, make sure you are ready, and have all the facts straight before jumping into a conversation you might regret later. Give yourself the gift of time and honor the time you may need to answer, you’ll have far fewer regrets later.

SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you often feel like you have to answer as quickly as possible, even when you may not feel ready? Why do you think you feel that way? Do you see how your defenses from your past can flare up and skew your perspective and your response? What can you do to slow yourself down? Take a breath SLAYER, ask yourself what’s really going on and what your next right step is, take your time, and respond when ready.

S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you

2 thoughts on “Pause Before You Act

    1. It does makes us stronger, and allows us to lead by example, to show others how we want to be spoken to, and the pause even allows us, at times, to see things from another perspective, or perhaps find some compassion for the other person who may be struggling that day.

      There’s grace in the pause, and yes, strength.

      Liked by 1 person

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