#23, Breathe and Stay Calm.
How often has something upset us and immediately, before giving ourselves a chance to be rational, we overreact or knee-jerk only to feel guilty or ashamed, or even still angry, later? Taking a deep breath and staying calm is the most important tool that you will carry in your proverbial self-love tool belt.
While it isn’t always easy to just catch ourselves, it is something that can come quickly to you with practice, and this is truly something worth the practice. It will save you from feeling bad or guilty, it can help keep the peace, it can help you re-center so you don’t float to far off into space with the knee-jerking or the flying off the handle, in which case your personal feelings or the situation just get worse.
If you are someone who flies off the handle quite easily, it’s okay to admit it to oneself, I have been known to give a good knee-jerk, then this won’t be easy, because you will have a split second from the moment you start to feel the reaction to reacting to it. If you feel like you are agitated already remind yourself to breathe and do it. Don’t just say it, do it. Allow yourself the freedom to feel this feeling, recalibrate and then let it go. Yelling or being argumentative has never solved any problems, it’s just made them worse and we all know that when people start arguing it is not going to end well, things might be said, feelings will be hurt and the damage can sometimes take far too long to rectify, or in worst case scenarios, become irreparable…and all because we missed the opportunity to take a deep breath.
Choose Peace over being right, and walk away. If someone tries to stop you by egging you on, for example, “That’s right, walk away! You know I am right!” You can simply reply with, “Arguing isn’t worth it, I’m walking away before I say something I don’t mean and can’t take back.” This won’t always stop someone in their tracks, and it might take a lot of strength to go inward and re-center, but it can help to diffuse the situation. This isn’t always the case, but hopefully in most cases it will be the positive outcome. You have to take care of your self-care and prioritize it in these situations.
I know from experience that when people are hurting inside, whether they realize it or not, they will sometimes create arguments just so the other person in the room can feel as terrible as they do. I know this, because I used to be that person. I had so much pain and trauma inside of me that it would just come up and out without any warning and it would manifest with being angry over practically nothing, something ridiculous that most people wouldn’t even think about, but it just takes a flip of the switch, because our emotions don’t wait for us. If you shake a can or bottle of soda it will eventually explode, this is how our emotions are, we can only hold so much of it in before it builds into something uncontainable.
This is why Shadow work, that we talked about early on in December, can be important. It will help you get to the root of the issues, and it will allow you to go deep within to understand what is hurting you. We don’t just wake up in the morning and decide we want to be mean, no, most times there is some deeply embedded pain within us that can be triggered by a bird chirping at a too high note and then we’re off the to the races running down everything in our path and hurting people while we’re doing it, or being rude to strangers.
Take the time to practice breathing. If someone is being hurtful to you, you can also stay calm and take a deep breath. My best friend/”older sibling” started to do this and she would simply ask me, “What is hurting you right now?” That phrase alone usually stopped me in my tracks, because I had to stop and think about it, which gave me time to calm down, but I couldn’t change how I had just behaved, so as I calmed down I had the emotions of guilt and shame to deal with as well. That wasn’t her intention, but it was how I felt, because it too stemmed from whatever pain I was dealing with at the time.
Laura, Older Sibling, was a big part of my early healing. She helped me grow and evolve into who I am becoming, because she had that patience, she took that time to breathe and she found that strength to look right into the storm and do her best to calm it and remind it to breathe as well. It takes courage, because we don’t know how to react, but if it feels safe*, be the hand that guides them towards their healing, the rewards can be beautiful, especially for the person you are helping.
*If the situation feels unsafe, do you best to safely remove yourself, or call for help.