Today let’s continue our February relationship talk with a simple but super powerful tool called The Pause. There’s a good chance you won’t do it, though, more on that below. But we’ll talk about it anyway. It’s there anytime you are ready, and it can give you immediate results. And it’s so simple! Because it’s simply pausing before you speak. That is all.
WARNING: There’s more to this than meets the eye! So don’t be deceived by the simplicity…
I wrote about this exact thing back in April 2013 in a post called Tool: Pause Before You Speak (apparently I like fancy, imaginative titles). That was seven years ago, so it’s probably time for a refresher. That post pretty much says it all, though, so I’ll let you read it for yourself if you’d like. The first thing to understand, though, is that it’s primarily about emotion. When you don’t pause, the emotion tends to do the talking. And when you do pause, a deeper and wiser YOU is able to respond instead. Which one sounds like the better option for your life?
You see, we are currently living in a world that’s super reactive. People are having emotional conversations that are like ping-pong matches, with their triggered feelings firing off back and forth, back and forth. It happens fast, with words just coming out of your mouth. There’s often very little awareness, very little choosing of words and tone. Who is doing the choosing? Your triggered emotions. “Is that what I really meant to say? Could I have softened it a bit? Was my tone what I really wanted it to be?” Then you add text messaging, email, and social media to it and people are pressing send or post or tweet when they should probably sleep on it first. And what is sleeping on it? A really long pause.
So how do we change this? How do we act instead of react? We pause. And then we speak (or write or whatever). Because a lot happens in that pause. It changes what you say from a reaction to an action. A reaction is when the emotion does the talking and responding, as we described above. And an action is when YOU do. The wiser you that’s always there, underneath the triggered emotion, watching it all.
Pausing before you respond, even for just one breath, gives you a chance to get deeper than the triggered emotions that have risen to the surface. And there really is a wiser, more thoughtful you that lives there. Another way to look at it is that when you react quickly and emotionally, it’s really your woundedness responding. Is that what you want doing your talking for you, your wounds?? Hell no! We learn to love our wounded parts so that they heal over time; that’s what this work is all about. But in the meantime, we train ourselves to realize that anytime we’re feeling triggered, it means our wounds are inflamed. So it might be a good idea to slow down and take some breaths before responding.
Also know that we can never do anything wrong by blowing up on someone or overreacting or whatever. It’s never a “right or wrong” thing, it’s more that we might not say what we truly wanted to say. And it might be taken the wrong way, and rightfully so. And we might have to do some cleanup later. Sometimes, in fact, we might even ruin a relationship. So we haven’t done anything wrong, per se, but letting it fly emotionally all the time might make our lives more difficult and painful than they really need to be. But hey, that’s our path, that’s our journey, and we’ll learn at some point! I’m just trying to help speed things up.
NOTE: Sometimes when you do blow up on someone, that’s actually what was needed to get their attention and crack their thick shell. I think I’ve talked about this before. So know that sometimes the universe actually needs you to do that. My clients beat themselves up all the time for this, those sensitives that are so mindful of doing everything perfectly for other people. But sometimes those other people don’t treat them with enough respect. That’s when some emotion and fire might be called for. I’ve talked about “sensitives rising up” before – it’s a huge thing happening now as the Feminine rises top to take its place alongside the Masculine – as an equal. And if you’re reading this, you might be a part of it. It’s mentioned in this post about a hypothetical guy that’s been acting like a jerk regarding his child support.
So now that we’ve covered The Pause, let’s talk about why you might not do this. Because this is actually really cool. And it’s also a preview of what we’ll probably be talking a lot about in the future. You see, there’s a part of you that doesn’t want to “just breathe.” Think of it as the child inside that we talk a lot about (this is also what the “ego” is, by the way – not an enemy or something bad, but rather an innocent inner child that still has lots of growing up and maturing to do). This part of you likes to talk a lot in your head and be in charge, and when you “just breathe,” it feels like it doesn’t have a job anymore. It feels like it’s dying. But it’s not! It’s just growing up into that part of ourselves that’s calmer and wiser, mentioned above. The parent. The adult. The soul.
So I just wanted to touch on that a bit here to normalize why sometimes a part of you does not want to “just breathe” before responding to someone or something. Especially when your body is burning with triggered emotion. But also know that this burn is actually a good thing! Because it’s old emotional energy that is leaving your system, saying goodbye on the way out. Yay.
So give The Pause a shot, and let’s see how it goes. Was your tone any different? Were your word choices any different? Even a little different is huge, because it is heading in the right direction. And if so, what were the results? Were they able to hear you more? To understand what you were trying to communicate? To see where you were coming from? Did the exchange go any better at all? Less combative? More on the same team, even when navigating a disagreement or a touchy situation? The more you practice The Pause, I guarantee you’ll get those results more and more. Just gently practice, and feel very good about yourself for doing so. You’ll also get triggered less and less over time, because you’re actually allowing that old emotional debris to be cleared out. And that’s a game changer. So happy pausing! And as always, let me know if I can help 🙂