If ever a year called for giving oneself a timeout, it would be 2020. It’s just been crazy weird and very stressful for so many! Just when we feel like we have a handle on what’s going on in the world… a new challenge comes our way. And that stress is very real and dangerous.
This is why I’m advocating the importance of a timeout!
Now, normally when one Googles the word timeout, they’ll find all kinds of debate on whether or not that action is a good thing for kids.
But — this is about you and me! (And hey, if you’re 10 years old and reading this… I’m super impressed and keep reading!)
In 2020, we’ve all been hit hard with the reality that it’s time to step up, react and respond to the racial injustices we see before us.
That said, there’s a difference between taking a moment and being silent.
Allow me to backtrack…
In the last five or so years I’ve had experiences with friends / colleagues / co-workers where I was really upset in regard to things said. I decided I didn’t need to pause before responding because, in my mind, I knew the facts. And those facts made me feel enraged, noble, righteous and/or violated. Also, I was coming from the place that if I took too much time to think my response through or just simply wait, I would be:
- Letting that person off the hook,
- Tampering down
- Dialing back my response
And in those scenarios, they might not understand how important or egregious the matter was.
But I also have learned in my lifetime that when I react emotionally, it’s often because I perceive that something someone is doing or saying violates one of my own values.
Ironically, though, coming from an emotional place (in my retaliation) ALSO violates one of my own values.
It’s hard to be principled, find the right words, and most of all, loving when you are emotionally charged and angry.
So, I’ve had to learn that when I feel that feeling, that the most loving thing I can do for myself and for the other person is to give myself a timeout.
And when I give myself a timeout — whether in the micro (personal relationships) or in the macro (reactions to big issues of the day) — it allows me to:
- Challenge my own cognitive dissonance
- Sort through things
- Bring my emotions down
All of that affords me the ability to see things with a clearer perspective. It gives me a chance to remember I don’t have to defend that which I already know about myself and my values. I should never assume that I’m going to be able to change someone’s mind.
And frankly, I’ve learned that if I’m not trying to change someone’s mind, if I’m not trying to force that, I’m gonna be much happier and much healthier.
The only goal I have these days is to open someone’s mind. But, it’s not mine to change.
Please remember, the one thing you do have control over is YOU!
For more actionable tips — you can start right now — that’ll help you feel and be more positive (especially in this uniquely difficult year), listen to The Chalene Show podcast below:
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