One of the best lessons I’ve learned in my life is to pause before reacting with anger. To pause before speaking words that I can never take back. Words said out of anger in the moment. The type of words that ruin friendships and scar relationships.
A moment of anger can be very damaging. With a single argument you may lose one of your best friendships or fill your partner with insecurity. I’ve experienced the sudden loss of friendships due to my words. Said words that broke a past partners heart and caused a loss of trust.
When I started dating my husband, I knew that I had to break this pattern. He was such a kind and positive person, and I didn’t want to ever hurt or lose him. I promised myself that I would never say something spiteful to him out of anger.
At first he didn’t understood my need for silence when I was upset. The silence made him nervous and he needed to know what I was thinking. I had to explain to him just what the pause means:
- Setting a Boundary: I need my space right now. I have a lot to think about, and I need you to respect my silence.
- Questioning: Why am I mad? Do I have a valid reason, or am I over-reacting? Am I taking out frustration over something else on him?
- Keeping the Peace: How do I explain my feelings in a respectful way. A way that he will understand.
- Resolving: What’s a way to fix this issue, so that it doesn’t come up again. Am I willing to agree to disagree, if that’s what it comes to.
At the end of the pause, I’m ready to calmly discuss the problem. If I feel myself getting angry again, I take another pause and repeat the steps above. It may not work for everyone, but it works for us. It’s been over four years now, and I’ve never broken that promise to myself.
Featured Photo by Christopher Sardegna https://unsplash.com/@css?photo=CMOa3H1SXG0