Last week my husband Michael saved me. He happened to walk by my office while I was pounding away on my laptop, responding to an email from someone who pushed my buttons.
“What are you doing?” he asked in a casual tone.
I’m writing back to someone to set him straight, I replied.
“Are you sure you really want to do that?” Michael asked.
I looked up at him and for a split second I considered arguing my case. Then I got up and joined him in the kitchen.
My husband is a patient, levelheaded guy who’s prone to giving others the benefit of the doubt. It’s one of the many things I admire about him (although it drives me crazy sometimes).
Over the years I’ve learned a lot about restraint from watching how Michael responds to problems. When his buttons get pushed, he often retreats, takes his time to consider the situation, and comes back able to see both sides of the disagreement.
I, on the other hand, can be a bit passionate and reactive.
As I shared the details about the email, I could feel myself settling down. Within a couple of minutes I knew Michael was right. Restraining myself was a smart thing to do. And, by the time we finished our conversation, it was clear that my reaction had nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with me.
When we act while feeling angry or upset, there’s a good chance we’ll just escalate a negative situation. After all, the energy we bring to an encounter with another person invites similar energy in return.
You might want to read that last line again #x1F600;.
Reacting out of anger doesn’t serve anyone and rarely is there a sound argument for responding immediately when something sets you off.
Better to step back and wait because you never know what’s happening behind the scenes. In any given situation when buttons get pushed, there’s a good chance that 75% of the reaction on both sides has nothing to do with present-day circumstances. Instead, the intensity is a good indication that old wounds may have been triggered.
Thanks to Michael I’ve learned to take a deep breath (or three) the moment I feel a flush of energy that prompts me to respond right away.
I ask myself a few questions first:
Am I in the right state of mind to reply?
Do I want to be met by the energy I’m offering right now?
Who can I talk with before I respond?
Life moves so quickly. I don’t know about you, but my nervous system has changed quite a bit over the years. Technology has trained my body to react and respond in lightening fast ways.
But reacting doesn’t invite love.
Only love does.
PS – Our next retreat is scheduled for October 25th-27th and if you’d like to know when registration opens, put your name on the waitlist here.
PPS – I’ll be live on Facebook this week on Wednesday, 5/1 at 6p EST/3pm PST. You can also watch past Facebook Live sessions on my YouTube channel at CherylRichardsonTV here.