We always hear the phrase “think before you speak.” I want to change it up just a bit to “breathe before you speak.” The directive is to actually stop, take in a breath, exhale, then say whatever it is you need to say. Even just the second or two delay in speaking can alter the tone, attitude, and reaction you may be having to an outside force, be it the old lady at the grocery store elbowing you for prune juice, or one of your truly adorable children who clearly hasn’t gotten enough rest and is in a really pissy mood! It was one of these adorable children to whom I was giving this little lesson to when he called me on my shit. He was being pissy and speaking to me in a tone that was making me feel agitated and frustrated. Rather than snap back, which is what I really wanted to do, I simply said “I have to walk away.” I did this in an effort to protect him from my annoyance and from possibly yelling at him. My sweet, sensitive boy was able to express how my walking away made him feel really awful, I think he used the words “like a piece of crap, child.” Ouch! I did that! I suck! We then talked about what I was experiencing and what he was experiencing. We agreed that we would both take a deep breath before we spoke and I would not walk away from him even if I was angry, and he would do his best to stay calm. This was a beautiful moment, now all we have to do is remember it and implement it!! It’s one thing to have the tools available, it’s another to use them. Totem Tamers is an incredibly helpful tool for example, with a rhyme to redirect overwhelming emotions, colors to help visualize your changing mood, deep breathing to keep calm, and a totem to ground you. Sometimes we forget about the tools that are available to us, (duh, like I did!) but if we give ourselves that second to breathe, maybe we’ll do a better job at remembering for the next time. Inhale, exhale.
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