Life Lesson: Stop, Pause, and Breathe

Photo cred: Wikipedia

Some people just have a natural ability to sit with things.  Be calm.  Be rational.  Be patient.  Then there are others who can’t seem to stop themselves.  They explode with emotions on both sides of the fence.  They aren’t particular about whether it’s something exciting or awful.  They just have to get it out.

As I have said many times before, I grew up in a family of three sisters and I have three daughters.  There is never a lack of emotions floating around.  As I have grown older and hopefully more mature, I have learned to pause and breathe before lashing out…most of the time.  It’s not easy.  In fact, you probably shouldn’t ask my hubby about my tendencies as he is jaded and he may have a different opinion about my maturity level.  Sometimes, I am like Ally McBeal acting some crazy story out in my head.  It never ends pretty, but at least I didn’t vomit all of my nastiness all over the person who may or may not deserve my wrath.

Whether or not the recipient of your emotional outburst deserves it is irrelevant.  We all need to stop and breathe to be sure what is about to come spewing out of our mouth has merit.  Not sure what I am talking about because you are so calm, cool, and collected?  Let me give you some examples to help clarify.

Hubby:  What time do I need to be at the tennis match?

Me:  OMG!  I have told you 10 times that it starts at 4:00.  I don’t know what time she is going to play.  If you ever listened to me you would know the answer to this question and if you don’t want to go just say it.

Hmmm.  Overreaction?  Perhaps.  If I were to analyze this little interaction I might say that there were some other issues that might need to be unpacked, but for the sake of this blog there was no reason to go ballistic.  I could have just taken a deep breath and said, “4:00.”  End of story.

Me:  Reese we really need to get going or we are going to be late.

Reese:  I KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS! I DON”T NEED YOU TO REMIND ME!  WHY DO YOU ALWAYS FEEL THE NEED TO REMIND ME OF HOW LATE I AM?

There was a lot of yelling in that example in case you couldn’t tell from all of the capital letters.  Again, lots of emotion here.  This is a typical morning around our house when our youngest just can’t find the appropriate attire for school.  I have learned to bite my tongue and realize that this is typical 15-year-old behavior rather than go down the crazy rabbit hole that she would like to take me on.  Maturity.  I have learned from my other two daughters that lashing back will get me nowhere.  My hubby often likes to use this as a teaching moment.  Yes, she needs to be more respectful, etc…In my opinion trying to teach a lesson in the midst of a tantrum is fruitless.  Deep breath.

I have also seen similar emotional outbursts from my adult daughters.  While their teenage years may be behind them, their affinity for rolling in the mud has not.  While my oldest and middle have very different personalities they both have tendencies to let their crazy out before taking a pause.  Fortunately, they often call me to vent, but occasionally they call to ask how to fix it.  Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.

Let this be a public service announcement for all of us who could benefit from keeping a wrap on our crazy from time to time.  Stop, Pause, and Breath is not just a nifty mantra, but a way of life.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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