How many times do you receive and email, text or phone call that makes your fight or flight go off?
It could be as simple a as customer complaining, or your spouse expressing anger, or your best friend being petulant and it sends you flying off into a tizz of justification and self-righteousness. How dare they?
How many times have you fired off a response shortly after receiving the message, all the while telling yourself that you’re not angry, or justifying or blaming. You’re just responding. (Yeah right)
How many times have you regretted it?
You see the problem with responding in the heat of the moment is that when we are having an emotion, we are rarely taking in data. Emotion clouds our judgement and we stop thinking rationally. We cannot be objective in that instance, simply because we are emotionally involved. Our viscera is up, and it feels good to fire off an reply straight away to lessen the uncomfortable feeling.
Yet, the problem with this type of behaviour is that you trade short term feeling, for long term damage. When someone expresses negatively to you and you respond un-objectively, you only serve to add fuel to the fire. If your response is not coming from a place of rational thinking and compassion for the other person’s struggle, it will rarely be met with anything but anger and resentment.
If this is your spouse or a family member it may be easier to put your wrongs to right. However, if it is a customer or member of your team, you risk permanent long-term damage, which could ultimately affect your business and livelihood.
Think about those times when you have felt aggrieved and wanted to lash out. Did you really want to hurt someone else, or did you just want to feel better? The next time it happens to you, think before you respond. Take a deep breath, count to ten and put some distance between you and the incident, until you can think rationally.
Practice this mindfulness in your daily life, and watch your relationships transform.