This is the most underrated step but in my opinion- THE hardest.
Here’s the situation:
You are late for work, you didn’t sleep very well, you spill coffee down your suit in a rush, your boys are fighting over football stickers and to top that off your puppy runs around the kitchen with wet muddy paws.
It is in this moment that your nervous system is mounting a response, most likely from your fight or flight sympathetic system sending a cocktail of stress hormones designed to raise your blood pressure to help you attack or run away.
It is in THIS moment that you have a choice. This is the juiciest part when you realise there is actually a gap, a moment…an opportunity.
Just feel the rush of the emotions going on in your body. We so often run away or don’t want to feel our emotions, they then get pushed down only to resurface later, this time stronger and now demanding your attention.
I challenge you, as I do myself in these moments, to PRESS PAUSE and just FEEL what comes up in that moment…is it anger, pain, resentment?
You then have a choice to either :
REACT OR REFLECT Which will you choose?
If you can get past this step and pause even for 20 seconds you are winning. You are overcoming the inbuilt programming that we all have.
Every time you do this you will be able to pause a little more and even maybe move to STEP 2.
STEP 2: LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO OFFER YOURSELF WORDS OF SUPPORT
Instead of saying or thinking to yourself:
‘I should have been quicker, better, more organised, should have woken up earlier…’
You start blaming yourself and everything around you,
‘I have great coping skills, I can do this’
According to the fabulous Marisa Peer, the quality of our self-talk is very important in building our inner self-worth and self-esteem.
Positive self talk calms your nervous system and tells your brain that things can relax again… it’s ok, you really DO have this.
Your brain can then go from SURVIVAL PANIC mode
to the calmer LOGICAL I-GOT-THIS mode.
STEP 3: LEVERAGE
Ok if you have got this far, you are pretty amazing. It took me some time and many bad days to get this far.
So you’ve PAUSED, offered yourself some words of support. Now what?
LEVERAGE. Victor Frankl in his very moving book ‘Man’s search for meaning’ wrote about his experiences in an Auschwitz concentration camp. He speaks of how we have a choice, even in the worst situations imaginable on earth, those men and women that chose a positive outlook and reframed their situation were able to live and survive extreme hardship.
Leverage is reframing a bad situation into one that can offer us an opportunity for growth.
I am now using this with our boys and looked at what I say to them.
Instead of: ‘That will teach you a lesson or serves you right’
I now pause and say: ‘Well this is an opportunity for growth’.
They are fed up of hearing it but I have read that through repetition, the things we say as parents have been shown to affect the future self-esteem of our child. Subconsciously, our dialogue, be it positive or negative, will become our child’s inner self-talk. This is a huge opportunity to make an empowering difference to our future generations.
We are now reframing ‘you are bad and deserve to be taught a lesson’
‘Mistakes happen, that’s ok, it is an opportunity for us to grow’.
I would love to hear how you are doing and if you are managing to use this in your daily life. Even if all you can manage is to press that PAUSE button you are almost there.
I failed many times and I still do, but I feel I am moving forward as I can pause for longer and react less and reflect more.
Good Luck and Keep Going, it takes a lot of work and time but I know you and I can do this.