If you're like me, there are times when you may say something out of anger or frustration that didn't come out quite the way you hoped. It may have been hurtful or mean to the person you spoke to.
I used to do this but learned how to stop myself before I said anything that might damage my relationship with that person.
And if I mess up and let my emotions get the best of me (which I still do sometimes), I learned how to repair quickly and effectively.
It only takes a few simple steps and ANYONE can do them.
1) When you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath. Then another. And another.
2) Identify the emotions you are feeling. What else is partnered with the frustration? Feeling unheard? Unloved? Unappreciated? Disrespected? Lonely? Don't let the frustration boil into anger without acknowledging the root of why it's there in the first place.
3) Say, "I'm feeling __________ right now. I need to take a break." Then if you're able, physically step away from the situation to give yourself space to calm down and regulate your emotions. If you're not able to take a physical break in that moment, take a mental break. Breathe, distract yourself with other thoughts, and ground yourself in your physical environment by using your senses.
4) Once you have calmed down, organize your thoughts and feelings. Identify the emotions once again as well as the triggers that made it worse. Try your best not to allow yourself to become triggered again, but if you do, you probably need more time to cool off.
5) Address how you were feeling and what your experience was once you feel calm and ready to speak. Offer an apology if appropriate as well as ways you can handle things better next time.
You have the natural superpower and capability to do this with your partner, your kids, at work, or with anyone you choose. It is a simple but powerful way to manage conflict more effectively and create connection in your relationships rather than disconnection and resentment.
If you'd like to learn more about better communication and conflict management, consider purchasing The Partnerhood Online Program. Click the button below to learn more:
Christie Sears Thompson
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
The Partnerhood (www.thepartnerhood.com)
Trade Winds Therapy & Relationship Coaching (www.tradewindstherapy.com)