You know that moment when you get frustrated and blurt something out, then wished you hadn’t? I had one of those earlier this week, and I was really surprised at myself.
Normally I manage not say those kinds of things.Taking time to reflect can stop you from reacting like that. If I had acknowledged earlier some feelings of aggravation that had piled up, I could have just laughed it off and not made that remark. Darn! I guess I still haven’t learned the lesson thoroughly enough.
What’s the lesson? Reflect, don’t react. Unless,of course you’re in an emergency. When your toddler runs out into a busy street you don’t pause to think, “How do I feel about this?”. No, you run out there and save your child. You can reflect later.
Most of the time though, we save ourselves from getting into sticky situations by making time to reflect, especially if something is bothering you. This holds true in professional and in personal situations.
So, some steps to help you reflect:
- Slow down. Make some time, even just 5 minutes.
- Talk it over with someone who’s a good, supportive listener. Hearing yourself express your feelings will help you calm down and figure out what you want to do.
- Write about the situation, your feelings, your thoughts. As you write, you may find things getting worked out.
- Draw a picture that expresses what you’re feeling or experiencing.
- Complete some sentence starters like “What’s really bothering me is…” or “The real problem here is…”
- Ask yourself (and answer) an open-ended question or two. Like “What is most important about this situation?” or “What is this reminding me of?”
I will keep this list handy so next time some frustrations start building up, I can reflect, and save the reacting for emergencies!