I believe that 95% of conflict stems simply from miscommunication and misunderstanding. As a result, I don’t get my emotional feathers ruffled too often anymore. Rather, I have learned to PAUSE before responding when there is a problem, disappointment or conflict.
Let me be clear though, that this “aha” in my own life took some time. In the name of being “in my truth,” I used to think I had to express myself quickly. Often — and I did so impulsively. When my heart rate was up, rarely did anything good come out of those conversations.
Slowly but surely I began practicing the art of pausing. I learned to reserve judgement and hold my tongue for at least 48 hours before responding. This successfully prevented my mind from making what so often are faulty interpretations and from my mouth to utter words that may cause undo hurt.
I can’t tell you how many times I have almost sent the email that could have confused or escalated a situation — only to later to receive the answer to my angst with grace and ease. The “pause” gave me the opportunity to collect my thoughts and then share them in a constructive way. Other times, the other person would just clear things up quickly, highlighting and dismantling the distortion in my original assumption or fear.
The next time you run into a problem with a friend, family member, significant-other (and yes that includes former ex-partners too!) try to sit with it until your blood pressure normalizes, and you calm down enough to think clearly. Ask versus assume. Give the benefit of the doubt versus expecting the worst.
I’ll bet you too will be amazed at how implementing this wise discipline will ease your mind, soothe your heart, and heal and preserve those relationships important to you.