We choose when to wake up, what to eat, what to wear, and where to go and when. Each and every day, we make choices about these tangible things in our lives. And, more often than not, we make them consciously.
We also make choices about what to think, but how conscious are those choices? Most of us operate on autopilot.
- Don’t like what someone says? How do you respond? As a victim, with anger, curiosity, or concern, what about a rebuttal?
- Don’t like how someone treats you? What do you think? Not my problem, maybe they are having a bad day, maybe I am having a bad day? What do you do? Stay out of their way; tell them what you think; remove them from your life?
This past week my husband told he didn’t think “I was there for him”. Well, in the past those would have been ‘fightin’ words’ for sure.
Imagine that! How could he? How dare he? After all I’ve been, done, etc…
Instead, I chose to respond: “what do you mean by ‘not there’?” He proceeded to tell me, and it was very different from my perspective of ‘not there’. I took the opportunity to thank him for explaining that. I also had an opportunity to share how I saw it differently. No anger, no tension, no negatives – simply dialogue.
What opened up was a real chance for intimacy that we hadn’t had previously. We each learned something about the other. Some of it had to do with our previous spouses... We respected our differences. We were truly happy to take the time for each other in that space. What could have started out as a fight turned into a moment we could each continue to cherish as we proceeded with our day. Imagine that!
How will you choose to think and respond? If you typically sit and stew, get your courage in gear and ask for clarity. If you are quick to anger, think about how else something could be interpreted. After all there many more ways than the one you might initially choose.
I had a friend who told me once ‘there are a hundred different ways to say no’ at the time I only knew one. Today, I remember that statement and think about how I want to relate to the friend, family member or colleague and choose…