Have you ever found yourself at the end of a rant and had the thought, “Oh no... I shouldn’t have shared that much, said that much; made that statement.” Have you been left with a pit in your stomach wondering whether the person you just shared with would repeat what you said or think differently of you as a result? What did you do? Does this happen to you or someone you know often?
But the million-dollar question: Can we do anything about it?
Typically, there are triggers that cause us to go there. Identifying those triggers and recognizing our reaction to them is key in allowing us to change this pattern of behavior. Let’s face it, when we "get going,” it doesn’t usually present us in the best light or leave anyone feeling comfortable.
I’m not saying that we never need to vent or process with others; I’m simply saying there are times and places for those conversations. Becoming and staying aware of our behavior, along with the things that trigger what we say can prevent a great deal of miscommunication, hard feelings, and a host of other negative consequences.
If you find that you’re in this position more than you’d like, there are some things you can absolutely watch for that can help you minimize the occurrences. Here are a few important things to watch for:
- What was going through your mind prior to the incident?
- What physical signs existed? Did your heartbeat raise, did you feel warmth through your body, did your hands sweat, your muscles tense, or your mouth salivate?
- What was the other person's reaction to your rant or outburst?
- Think about what caused you to feel so strongly. Was it the incident that came up at that moment or was there more to it?
Practice this a few times and stay aware of your body, your thoughts and your actions. Think about what you would like to say instead. When you feel the physical signs, take a deep breath, drink a glass of water, stand up or change your physical position to allow yourself a little time and mental space to process more thoroughly before you respond.
Share the things that work for you to allow yourself to exhibit more intentional communication in situations where you would otherwise be off and running (not in a good way)! We’d love to hear from you about your experience!