A few weeks ago, at work, I had an experience that made me realize I need to slow down and think before I answer sometimes. Forgive the medical terminology, but my mind seems to work in triage mode. I take in new information, process it and reply almost immediately. This isn’t always a bad thing, particularly when I am working in a disaster management type of capacity. But on this particular day, that was not the case, it was just another ordinary day and I responded to the post question quite abruptly and quite possibly a little rudely, only to end up retracting my outburst after I had a little bit more time to process.
My daily meditation routine has brought me the ability to see my flaws better than ever, although the vision isn’t always as timely as I may like.
Realizing how unreasonable I had been, I asked my staff to not respond immediately to my own knee-jerk reaction, but to wait until I have had a few minutes of time to calm down and think it through and give them a final answer.
Then again, that wasn’t really a fair request either. I need more self-control, I need to self regulate. I need to learn to slow down, think my response through before reacting and then respond, which allows for a much less abrupt conversation. Taking that extra time does not make me less intelligent or less on top of things. In actuality, slowing down, looking at all sides of the problem and waiting to respond until after I have processed my own emotions, allows me to respond with much greater grace and dignity than the childish outburst I perceived coming from my mouth that day.
It is a journey, I am far from perfect. I am hoping that recognition of the problem is truly the first step to fixing. I have identified a few places that can use some more self-regulation and self-discipline since the initial incident. So perhaps acknowledging there is a problem truly is half the battle.
Now, I take time to breath, count to ten ( I know it is so cliché, but it really does work for me) and then check in with myself to see if I am responding on an intellectual level or an emotional one. If I am still feeling emotional about the topic, I am asking for a few minutes to collect my thoughts. My children have noticed a difference too, as my home tends to be the incubator of new ideas. Today, my intention is cultivating patience and the ability to take a step back and get my feelings in check before responding. I think this will make me more graceful and diplomatic in my conversations with people. Since communication can make or break any relationship business or otherwise, I think I will stick with this intention for a little while and let it simmer. Patience after all is not about waiting, but how you act while you wait!
Have you had an experience with practicing self-regulation and discipline? I would love to hear from you!