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When I was younger I did a lot of reacting to things which didn’t always lead to optimum results. It usually involved snap judgements and loud outbursts. I also spent a lot of time reacting to myself and my body in unhealthy ways. I tried yo-yo fad diets, I was judgemental towards people around me, I spent money I didn’t actually have, and I yelled when I was frustrated. Holy shit, so much yelling. (Sorry, boys. You’ll talk to your therapist, I’m sure.) Sometimes I was able to make and follow through with goals, but never understood the why behind them. Sometimes my achievements weren’t things I actually wanted to do, but things that I thought I should do. (There’s that shaming word again.) It took me a long time to realize that stopping, pausing, and reflecting helped project me further to where I really wanted to be, and recognize when I was sabotaging myself.
The “stop-pause-reflect” helps me on a daily basis. In the moment, the power of the pause is literally you telling yourself to stop. Breathe. Think. What’s happening right now? How are you feeling? What are the facts? (Feelings aren’t facts.) What is the next right thing to do? How do you want to feel? How can you make that happen?
If I remember to do this (and I do need frequent self check ins), I am less yell-y with my kids, more likely to say no to tasks that aren’t my responsibility, and make better and more thoughtful decisions. It gives me time to think. A few seconds might be all I need. And if I need more time to make a decision, the pause allows me to see that and respond accordingly with a, “I’ll get back to you on that.”
Pausing tells your brain that there’s no immediate danger. Pausing reminds you that you always have a choice in how you react. Pausing allows you to check in with your feelings quickly. Pausing reminds you that your attitude makes a world of difference.
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