STOP! – Don’t say it.
“The volume of your voice does not increase the validity of your argument”
Do you know anyone who never loses their cool and always responds correctly to every situation?
I certainly don’t. But there ARE some who do a better job responding to stressful confrontations than others.
Whenever emotions are high and our patience levels have reached their boiling point, our bodies start to fill with adrenaline which sometimes prevents us from acting in a rational manner. When this happens it causes some of the best people to react according to their emotions instead of responding with their brain.
Reacting and responding are two very different things.
Reacting, is when you allow emotions to take over and without thinking, you do or say whatever comes to mind out of insult, hurt, fear, etc.
Reacting will cause you to say things that are not true, sensible or wise.
Reacting can cause words to be said that will never be forgotten and damage to relationships that may never be repaired.
Responding, however, is speaking only after you have taken the needed time required to calm down and give appropriate feedback.
Life isn’t always easy and/or fair, and sometimes people and circumstances will stress us beyond our limits. It’s during these times, we are given the opportunity to exercise our self-control and grow our emotional intelligence.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness, the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people. – Psychology Today
We must always try to grow and do better. ALWAYS.
We are no longer two-year-olds, and the adults around us, no longer care to step over and ignore our outburst and tantrums.
I read a quote once that said something to the effect, “not every action requires your response”. I thought this was brilliant! The world is full of thoughtless, rude, ignorant, obnoxious and aggravating people. I know I probably roll my eyes or whisper “seriously?” to myself 20 times a day while watching the news or scrolling through social media pages alone … and that doesn’t even cover the people I encounter on a daily basis!
Years ago, I would have thought of a snarky remark for almost everything that irritated me. But as I’ve aged, I realize that the majority of people are going to believe what they believe no matter what I say or think, so why bother. And besides that … I was reacting to their comments before knowing all the facts anyway. So who was really looking foolish? …. ME!
“It’s better to remain quiet and let them think you’re a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”
I get that not all situations are simply, irritating social media post, and some are very deliberate words of accusation or judgment. We are all human and sometimes the hurt or anger that we experience from the actions or words of someone else can be a slap in the face. But we must learn to control our feelings when provoked. We must learn to use the valuable tools of time and prayer.
Take a breather and ask God for wisdom
Taking time to step back and cool off before reacting is something we should all practice. Taking time to look at the entire picture and asking God for wisdom will demonstrate that you not only have self-control but you also value the feelings of the person who’s caused the offense and you respect the severity of the situation.
Using the tools of time and prayer will also stop you from lashing out in frustration and it will allow you to think carefully about how to respond in a way that will possibly save the relationship.
I would love to say that I have always done this … but I have not. (I had four teenagers, remember.) But I will say that with every year and every stressful situation, I gain a little more patience, a little more self-control and little more wisdom.
Not only are those who are self-controlled and remain calm in stressful and aggravating situations viewed as wise to those around them, but they’re relationships are also protected from unnecessary disputes and hurtful words.
Next time you’re faced with the choice to react or respond…
Take a deep breath.
Remove yourself from the situation. (without a fuss)
Take some time.
Pray for wisdom.
Then respond accordingly.