Before I speak, I have learned to pause.
Anger has always been my vice. Arguably, righteous anger but mostly just the rash and fearful responses to unfavorable situations outside of my control. It is a characteristic that I am aware of and a product of the culture in which I was raised.
I like to believe that I have evolved beyond the influence of the environment that impacted most of my formative years. The truth, however, is that as I sit on my self-constructed throne of self-righteousness, someone will inevitably order the last of the sugar free vanilla at Starbucks rendering my latte totally undesirable and, well you understand ….
Someone less qualified but more attractive receives more recognition at work. You leave a dirty dish on the counter out of spite just to see how long it takes before your partner makes a move. A week later, the half empty soda is still sitting with a questionable ring gathering defiantly around the rim. A fender binder, a leaky faucet, a flat tire, we all feel anger. But before we talk bad about the co-worker or yell at our partner for being a slob, kick the car, or curse the faucet, let’s pause.
Let’s take an honest assessment. Let’s really consider if these minor irritants warrant such a great response. There are people and issues that are worth fighting for and there are those that truly just deserve a sarcastic smile in passing.
So, before I speak, I pause. I breathe. I relax, and I respond accordingly.