“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” -James 1:19
In Yesterday’s post, I suggested an exercise in which one chooses to wait 48 hours before responding to a situation that bothers them or before talking about it to anyone. I’d like to add two minor points: First, 48 hours is an arbitrary time frame. You can calibrate the practice to suit your own lifestyle and needs. It doesn’t matter if it’s 48 hours, 24 hours, 12 hours, or whatever. It’s the underlying principle that matters, not the precise length of time. Secondly, this practice presumes that you are not going to harm yourself, your business, or others. It shouldn’t be applied to a customer complaint, for instance, if the situation demands you address it right then and there.
With those two clarifications in mind, I’d like to share a few additional thoughts on the advantages of practicing the 48-hour exercise. I was able to come up with four. If you’d like to read yesterday’s post, click here. If you’ve already ready it, then here are some further thoughts on the benefits of temporarily “biting your tongue” when things go wrong.
1) By setting space between the problem and your reaction to it, you force your dramas to prove themselves worthy of your attention. Anything that’s still bugging you after 48 hours is definitely worth talking to someone about. Anything that loses its steam in that amount of time is a distraction masquerading as a pressing issue. The waiting period is a litmus test separating the urgent from the important.
2) Your reaction to the problem will always be more conscious and compassionate when you operate from a higher vibration. Time gives you the chance to tune into the part of your awareness that lies beyond the reactive mind. By the time you express yourself, you’re able to prioritize those elements that are most significant to you and generate ‘out of the box’ ideas that can help you remedy the situation in a win-win style. The people you respond to, as well as those who listen to you vent, will greatly appreciate this and may be far more cooperative in working with you.
3) Some problems will actually resolve themselves organically if you give them time. People who “jump the gun” by speaking too soon can create unneccessary complications for themselves. While the sympathy of a concerned party feels great to have in your corner, it may also result in them helping you keep negative energy patterns alive longer than what you prefer. When you let other people in on your problems, they may tend to check up on you (as they should) about the issues you share with them. They may also feel the need to “help” you out in various ways (ie. offering advice, expressing concerns, etc). This is not bad at all, BUT it becomes cumbersome and unproductive if people are doing this for minor problems that don’t require such attention.
You can help people help you by developing a reputation for being someone who talks about their problems in ways that are focused, discrete, and well-tempered. People who tend to immediately talk out loud about every problem are usually tuned out by their peers as “over-dramatic” or they’re overwhelmed by “emergency response” styled reactions that do them more harm than good. No one wins when this happens. The 48 hour waiting period can help mitigate such outcomes.
4) When you react, your instincts are controlling you. When you exercise restraint, you’re controlling you. Whenever you take control, you start to FEEL like you’re in control. When you start to feel like you’re in control, you process problems with a greater measure of confidence, optimism, and creativity.
Those are a few of my ideas.
Do you have any that you’d like to add?
I’d love to hear.