It had been a pretty good day thus far and I was moving from one “To do” item to the next. I reached for my cell phone to check email and the message I had been dreading came in. You know those moments when your heart sinks to the pit of your stomach and you get a sick feeling? That was it.
The email I received was one that required me to follow through with a responsibility that I did not want to execute. I wanted nothing to do with it. So much so that I nearly wrote back that I had changed my mind and wouldn’t be able to accommodate the request. The message in my head was laced with bitterness and frustration. I quickly deleted the email and gave myself 24 hours before responding.
One of the most valuable lessons we can learn is how to avoid responding out of emotion and instead respond with intention. Emotional responses feel good in the moment because we say what we truly think at the time. When something strikes so deeply at our core, the tact and control we typically engage departs and we become terribly honest about how we really feel in the moment.
It’s healthy to be real with our emotions.
It’s unhealthy to respond with our emotions.
Though strategies to counter a desire to immediately respond with the full force of our emotions can vary, the end goal should be the same: respond with intentionality.
As you continue to do life in the midst of difficult relationships, issues, customers or whatever else, find an outlet where you can be real with your emotions. Finding that outlet and using it can be the first step toward responding with intentionality. Once we deal with our emotions, we can then process with the knowledge of how our heart feels with the intentionality of what our brain thinks.
For me, I took 24 hours to choose to respond after I thought through the immediate and the future implications of my reactions. What is it for you?
Go ahead and leave a quick comment sharing how long you need to give yourself to process and respond. Twenty-four minutes? Twenty-four hours? More?