I’ve been seeing a new therapist over the past few months. She’s amazing. Something interesting came up for me last week. It has helped me so much already and I know is going to continue to be such a huge help, so I thought I’d share it with you.
It’s something she calls the space between.
It’s the space between the moment I’m presented with a behavior or a comment, and the moment I respond. It’s the place I have the most power to affect my relationships with my kids, my husband, my friends, and colleagues.
I sometimes get stuck in reaction mode. I have an instant reaction for every little thing that comes my way. And it’s often not a good one.
What I’m learning is that if I wait, even just a few seconds, to have an intentional thought before I respond, it can make all the difference in the world. I might even respond with something like, “Hmmm, that’s interesting. Let me think about that and get back to you.”
It’s something I already know a little bit about.
I was a psychology major in college. I did training last year on emotional intelligence. The brain science behind reactions is actually quite incredible.
Did you know that when you feel like someone is picking a fight with you, even verbally, it sets of a cascade of responses in your body? Your body actually begins to prepare for a physical fight. One of the things that happens at that moment is blood rushes to your heart, lungs, arms and legs. Your body gets you ready to fight.
Unfortunately, that leaves your brain hanging out up there with all the same ammo and a lot less direction.
It’s one thing to understand it. It’s a whole other thing to prepare for it and do something about it. But if we could master it, it would change everything.
Think about how your life would be different if you took 10 seconds to breathe and think before responding to your spouse’s request. What about a child screaming defiantly? A friend with their feelings hurt? A boss demanding an explanation? A disappointed client?
Most of us know we need to do it, we simply don’t have a plan for it.
This week, when your mouth is open to react, and the words are about to spew out, close it. Take a breathe through your nose. Imagine the space between their words and yours as your place of strength. Realize the power that you have to make a different choice. . . in that moment. Then use it.
Use it for healing, for restoring, for caring.
Use it for good.
There’s a lot of life in that space between.
to more love,