Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Take A Moment To Breathe And Pause

Respond; don’t react.  Listen; don’t talk.  Think; don’t assume.”
-Raji Lukkoor
No technique, no communication skill or psychological process can come anywhere close to the effectiveness of being 100% present.  It is not an easy thing to do.”
-Danaan Parry
Most of us at one time of another have overreacted to a situation.  This is because we are reacting from a gut level and not from the head or the heart.  I once read some advice that recommended we take a moment to pause and breathe before we speak or act.  There have been many times in my life when I would have been saved from much unnecessary grief if I had only done this. If we resist the urge to immediately react, we can do the more emotionally intelligent thing by responding.  A response, rather than a reaction, is more likely to be calm and free of unnecessary emotion.  Another bit of sage advice reminds us that we all have two ears and but only one mouth.  In other words, we should all listen twice as much as we speak.  Who among us is not guilty of having to get in the last word at one time or another?  Over time I have also slowly and sometimes painfully learned that I should never assume anything.  Assumptions usually bring me pain or create misunderstandings. 
I love psychology and know a fair amount about it.  I especially like the study of personality types and tools like the Myers-Briggs and Enneagram.  However, none of these systems are 100% effective in determining human behavior.  We all have comfort zones, preferences, and ways of thinking.  None of us, however, are locked in to any of them.  People will assume you will act or respond a certain way and then when you break out of the mold, they are shocked or confused.  You can’t assume anything about human behavior no matter how many times an individual may have acted or responding a certain way on previous occasions.  People can always surprise you.  The best way to interact with other people is to be present to them and to give them your full attention.  This is very difficult because most of us are multi-tasking and easily distracted.  Remember to take a moment to pause and breathe, especially when interacting with other people.  

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