Dare to live without limits Week of 10/14/19

Bryan Golden

Sometimes it best to avoid the temptation to react
It’s tempting to react to the actions of others. It’s so easy to get caught up in emotions. When someone is rude, inconsiderate, or mean to you, you want to engage them. When someone yells at you, you want to yell back. When you are treated poorly, you want to be mean in return. When you are angry, you want to lash out at someone.
Your feeling of, “I don’t have to take that,” may be entirely justified. Before you give into the temptation to react in kind, ask yourself if doing so will improve your circumstances and bring your closer to a positive objective. Before taking any action, really think about what you are about to do. Regardless of how tempting it might be, if your reaction won’t make things better, don’t do it.
Typically, giving into temptation by reacting in kind worsens a situation. Take a look at your past experiences. Like most people, you can probably identify numerous examples where this has happened. Reacting with harsh words or actions exacerbates problems. An insignificant issue can become inflamed out of all proportion.
Learning how to respond, instead of reacting, is a good first step in avoiding temptation. A response is preplanned and thought out. Reacting is an emotional, knee jerk backlash to any words or actions which set you off.
Don’t get caught by surprise. Identify those things which get under your skin the most. Next, visualize someone doing that which you can’t stand and then visualize yourself not reacting the way you would normally. Instead, think about a more effective response. This practice prepares you to remain calm when your emotions are triggered.
Through visualization you learn to think before you act. You’ll realize that there’s no need to engage in the offending behavior. For example, you don’t have to yell at someone who is shouting at you. Very often, you don’t have to say anything at all.
With practice, the temptation to join the fray rapidly diminishes. You learn from experience that this is an effective strategy for remaining calm, and avoiding doing or saying things which are later regretted.
Whenever you are upset, allow time to calm down before deciding on the most appropriate response. Don’t say or do anything while in a emotionally charged state. Whenever possible, remove yourself from a stressful situation. A non-confrontational approach is excusing yourself to use the restroom. Time allows your emotions, and circumstances to calm down.
Any form of electronic communication is permanent and public. This includes email, voice mail, text messages, and social media posts. Once you send it, you have no control over where it will ultimately go.
Always create an electronic reply in a word processing program first. In it there is no send, reply, or reply all options. Write whatever you want and save it to read later. When you are calm, reread what you had written. You will probably make a lot of changes before deciding to send it. Many times, you will feel you don’t have to reply with anything at all because the situation has dissipated.
Becoming adept at avoiding the temptation to engage in conflict yields numerous benefits. The number of conflicts you get caught up in diminishes substantially. Your stress level declines markedly. Your emotional well-being improves. And, you are able to defuse situations before they become problematic.
As with developing any positive habit, the more you practice, the better you’ll become. Consider each potential conflict you have to deal with as a great opportunity for honing your response skills. You will get to a point where you are virtually immune from becoming embroiled in a negative interaction.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2019 Bryan Golden


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