“I will not lose my cool. I repeat I will NOT lose my cool,” I say to myself as Bini is telling me that our summer plans have changed, after months of talking and setting things in place.
“I will not lose my cool,” I tell myself again, but as he talks, I can feel my blood rising. Then the dopiest thing happened, I held it all back y’all. I didn’t snap or complain or start to talk over him (as the old me would have- I know I know...I was rude as heck).
Nope, instead I told him, I had to go and that we could talk about it later. As I was hanging the phone up, I had my first real out of body experience, where I felt like someone new and patted myself on the back.
We didn’t get to talk about our summer plans again for a couple of days, which gave me time to re-assess my plans, figure out what I want to do and see if it was even possible. Then, when I was ready to talk, had calmed down and had valid points to bring to the table, we had our discussion and guess what…the entire conversation went without either one of us getting mad or feeling unheard.
Had I simply gone off because things didn’t go my way(which happens from time to time), we would have fought and wasted precious time which is the one thing we never get back, and the outcome would not have changed. By taking time to think, compromising and having that open line of communication with no feelings attached, we both left the conversation feeling heard, loved, and satisfied.
This is just one example (my favorite though) of the changes I see in my life due to reflecting instead of reacting.
I won’t lie to you and say it’s been easy or that I don’t fail from time to time, because trust me I do. The other day, for example, we were having a discussion at work about the appropriate timing for kids to have cell phones. My views were utterly different from that of my co-workers, and I immediately got defensive, thinking my way was the only right way. I dismissed myself from the conversation (great move if I do say so myself) but only after snapping at them (which I apologized for later). I’m human and makes mistakes, but I love that I’m learning through each lesson and growing from it.
In a way, I feel like this concept has helped me mature, look at life differently, assess what’s important, and stick to only the positive, while trashing the negative along the way. In doing this, I have less gray hair, I am happy, truly happy, and I don’t feel so weighed down by worry, hate, or regret. I think about how situations will play out before talking out loud instead of reacting so quickly, and it’s helped me immensely.
Remember we are not perfect, that’s the beauty of being a human, we get to make mistakes and learn from them. It’s our own experiences that teach us about life in the best way possible. No classroom can ever prepare you for the real world, and that’s something I learned the hard way. My mistakes, however, don’t get to dictate who I am today, NO WAY! All they do is stand as a stepping stone to my learning experience.
Understanding the peace in a moment is another one of those learning experiences and through time, I will definitely get better and better at it. Until then, though, every situation is an 'aha' moment and comes with some failures and some wins.
I hope this blog post helps you or someone you know. If you have someone close in your life that needs to read this message, please feel free to pass it along. As always, I’d love to hear from you. If you started this journey with me months ago, how is it going for you? If you’re going to start now and need some advice or guidance, please feel free to use my 'Ask Luwamé' column on the blog, leave your comments below, or email me directly.