Yesterday, my grocery store “road rage” nearly had me jumping out of my skin. Everyone was annoying me. They were moving too slow. They were moving too fast. They were letting their kids run all over the place. Their kids were moving too slow. Their kids were moving too fast. The self-checkout line was crazy long, and there weren’t enough cashiers.
When I noticed that I was moving into my “loud, exasperated sigh mode,” I took a deep breath and asked myself, “What’s that about?” In that moment, I realized that my expectations weren’t being met. I ran into the store for only one or two things, so I expected to get out fairly fast. When that didn’t happen, I was annoyed.
So I changed my expectation, relaxed and actually enjoyed talking to the woman and her adorable daughter who were in line in front of me.
Best of all, I left the store knowing I wasn’t a total jerk and that I minimized the damage to the humanity walking in my general direction.
In my last post, I offered a three-step way to change your mindset. I said: 1) notice your thoughts, 2) ask yourself what you’re thinking, and 3) take an action. I also said:
After I posted this, I realized I glossed over a very important part of the process: The Pause.
The Significance of the Pause
Personally, I believe there’s great strength in “taking a moment.” I totally and completely respect The Pause. I adore it. I have a strange and unusual reverence for it. I believe in the strength and significance of The Pause. Why?
Because we don’t do it enough.
As Americans, we race from one thing to the next. We’re so focused on getting to the next thing that we don’t even take a breath, much less a thought. When we’re not in the midst of racing somewhere, we’re checking the incessant notifications from that maddening thing called a phone. Even on silent, it can be the loudest distraction in the room.
So The Pause is a welcome break from all the busyness we inflict upon ourselves. It helps lower stress and cortisol levels, assists in getting clarity, and is crucial in getting out of our heads and into our hearts. It helps us think before we act. It can also help in our relationships.
The Pause did wonders for my relationship with my mother. When I was younger, we clashed regularly. Most of it was because of my own immaturity and stubbornness. One day, though, I realized that I didn’t really understand her even though I desperately wanted to have a strong relationship with her, and she wanted the same. We talked and came to an agreement.
If one of us reacted in a way the other didn’t understand, we gave permission to stop and ask, “What’s that about?” This one question created a significant space to pause, think and then respond. When we started doing this, our relationship improved dramatically. I think it was because just asking the question quietly said:
- I want to know and understand you better.
- I want this relationship to work.
- I love you.
This small moment helped us create an extraordinary friendship based on love, trust and a commitment to authenticity. She was my best friend. I miss her—and our conversations—so much.
Why not find some time in your day to give The Pause the respect it deserves? Then let me know how it goes on my Facebook page.
Be #True, and have a Refreshing and Productive Day!