Before you say or do something you might regret, give yourself time.
Perhaps, your instinct is to react straight away especially if you’re angry, upset or frustrated. And, sometimes that might be exactly what you need to do. But other times there is value in being patient and in having patience.
It takes patience to not to react, to take the time to hold and work through the feeling, to calm yourself enough so that you’re able to then respond from a more rational or settled frame of mind.
Do nothing until you’re able to get yourself from a space of reacting to a space of responding. It could be hours, days or even a week.
Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing the things that we want to do because we put others above ourselves.
We choose to consider how our actions might make someone else feel, as if that is our responsibility. It often results in not doing the things that we want to do.
In the moment, it might feel like the right choice but in the long run it often leads to regret or resentment.
It could be staying in a ‘good job’ when you actually want to pursue something that is held in a much lower regard by the people you know, maybe it pays less too. You’re worried that people will tell you you’re making a mistake, of the looks you’ll get at the family dinner when they ask how work is going, you want to please your parents and you don’t want other people to think that you’ve regressed.
So, you stick with your current job that you’re no longer interested in.
Overtime you grown to resent those people around you because even though they’re happy with where you’re at in life, you’re miserable. It feels like it’s their fault. But, deep down you know that your misery comes from you caring about other peoples opinions more than you care about making yourself happy.
The lesson here is to learn to put yourself first. How you feel about your life and the choices you make matters so much more than what other people think.
The way you would react when you’re angry, upset, frustrated or annoyed is not the same way you’d respond when you’re calm and relaxed.
Of course this is fairly obvious, yet how many times have you allowed your feelings to get the better of you instead of simply taking some time.
What ends up happening is you regret it later because now you’re calm, now you can see that actually this other person was trying to be helpful, in fact you agree with them. Maybe you look back and feel like the way you reacted didn’t even make sense.
Now that you’re calmer you can play out in your mind, the way you wish you had responded.
And then you can hold onto that and remember it for next time.
It’s all in how it feels.
When you find yourself with a choice to make between A and B, the main challenge will be wanting to make the right decision.
You don’t want to pick an option that you might later regret. But the truth is most of the time, you never really know how you’ll feel a month or a year down the line.
And as much as you can go back and forth, at the end of the day you have to choose.
I find that that it helps to put as little pressure on the decision as possible. Sometimes even make a game of it, put your options into an online hat that will pick for you or pick flower petals.
Whatever you end up choosing if you feel calm and at peace granted part of that will come from no longer having the burden of deciding on your shoulders but the feeling of peace will also be from having made the right choice for you.
A message I’m always keen to get across is that as much as it’s important to open up, what matters even more is that you do it with the right people.
For some that may be obvious but others might find themselves wondering who qualifies as ‘right’.
It really depends on the individual.
However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself like…
How do I want to feel when I open up?
What do I want from the person I open up to?
Then come up with the answers and think about the people you know that align with this.
For example, if what you want from the person you open up to is emotional support and a listening ear, it’s no use opening up to someone who is just going to tell you what to do. Or if you want to feel calm and supported it’s no use talking to someone that leaves you feeling anxious.
Further to that think about your past experiences. Can you think of a time you opened up to someone and regretted it? Can you think of a time you were glad you opened up to someone?
I’ve found that these types of situations, when you know what you want, you’ll know what you’re willing to accept.
Sometimes that means being a little more picky about who you choose to open to.
When you take the time to look back on your life, do you think there is anything you missed out on?
The job you turned down, the work you were too afraid to put yourself forward for, the project you never launched…
There are so many things that we all could have done with our lives. And often we get caught up in the fantasy that our lives would be better if only I took that job.
But the truth is you don’t really know how things would have turned out. You might have taken that job and been miserable. But maybe you’d have ended up roughly exactly where you are right now.
When you’re not happy with where you’re at it’s easy to tell yourself a story about how your life could have been something spectacular.
In reality it’s probably much more helpful just to think about what you can do right now based on your current circumstances and then do it.
Anytime you’re being yourself (within reason of course).
I recently had a situation where I considered apologising. In the end I didn’t.
Instead of saying ‘I’m sorry’, I clarified my thoughts on the situation with the other person. You see after giving it some thought I realised that an apology didn’t feel like the right thing to do.
Granted, I didn’t like how the situation turned out initially but it served as a learning curve, a growth point that I needed to experience.
In the grand scheme it was a small-scale misunderstanding, not something worth regretting.
Can you guess what book I’ve been reading?
Over a year ago (on my other blog, wordsbygemm) I wrote a post about my job.
Looking back, knowing what I now know I kind of regret my words.
Here’s what I wrote: Maybe, it’s strange that I sort of like being a cog in a machine, doing my bit to support the bigger picture.
I didn’t know it at the time but I’d fallen into a fear based trap. I basically wanted a factory job that presented itself as something else because it was in an office and I was at a computer instead of a machine.
I’d go to work sit at my desk, check emails, read documents, chat with colleagues, write letters and occasionally make phone calls. That was all I did on a loop pretty much in any random order depending on the day.
But I’ve since seen the light, I suppose. Firstly my level of contentment with how I was showing up at work wasn’t what I thought it would be. I found myself wanting to more.
And so thanks to me choosing to read Seth Godins book linchpin, I’m understanding how I can be better at what I do.
I want to show up at work and add value not just follow instructions, anyone can do that.
A reaction rooted in anger is one you’re likely to regret.
Anything that builds up has to have a release eventually. And if you’ve tried to release or resolve it to no avail then it’s important that you do find a way.
Bursts of anger and outrage often come unexpectedly and end up being directed at the wrong person.
This is why it’s important to nip things in the bud instead of leaving ‘bad’ feelings to flourish.
But if nipping things in the bud isn’t something you’re comfortable with yet, it’ll be important to know when you need to take a moment because that anger will come up at some point.