“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Have you ever consider how much power a moment of pause can hold?
When you pause, you actually open up space in your mind that gives you the opportunity to think a matter over and choose something new. It creates the possibility to assimilate a situation, make conscious decisions, and take control of your life. It leads you to talk less and listen more. And as a result, your relationship can become deeper, closer, and more meaningful.
That is the power of pause.
How to Practice the Power of Pause
Recognize the trigger – A physical sensation that is building inside you that signals it’s time to pause. This could be a knot forming in your stomach, a rising heat in your body or face, or an elevated pulse in your head.
Hit the pause button – Stop, take a deep breath, and compose your thoughts. Hold off from reacting. Listen and observe the situation and your own thoughts. Consider your normal, habitual way of reacting and ask yourself, “What would happen if I choose to respond differently?”
Make the best choice – Continue, responding in a better way that you may have done before.
Ways to Exercise the Power of Pause in Your Relationship
1. Pause to stop assumptions
Do you often believe you already know what your partner thinks, feels, and will say? Hit the pause button and, instead of assuming, simply be present, listen, and stay open to learning and truly understanding your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
2. Pause to keep from being judgmental
Hitting the pause button to consider your own feelings about what you’re observing helps you to adjust your mindset. If you’re hastily judging a situation, you may close your mind too quickly to what your partner is actually presenting.
3. Pause to become aware of feelings
Picking up on your partner’s feelings can help you respond better. Hit pause and consider what their body language is it telling you. When you pick up on your partner’s emotional state, it helps create trust, support, and dependability between you.
4. Pause to recognize emotionally charged moments
When you’re tired, worried, or not feeling well chances are usually bigger that you may say something hurtful. Pause and consider the impact your words may have on your partner. Perhaps it’s better to handle the matter another time, when you’re body and mind are refreshed.
5. Pause to curb frustration
In an argument, your ego may urge you to defend your position. But replying when you lack control can deal a fatal blow to your relationship. Hit the pause button, look at the impact the frustration in your voice could have on the situation, and restrain your anger.
6. Pause to allow the opportunity for input and feedback
When you pause after talking, you give your partner the opportunity to provide input. It allows them to open up. And if you pause again after they finish, before you reply, you give them even more space to share their thoughts and feelings.
7. Pause to meditate daily
Most of us have a very small space between stimulation and reaction. Daily practicing pause through meditation can help you make that space much bigger. Mediation can regulate the part of your brain that controls emotions, which will make you much less reactive when confronted with upsetting situations.
Certainly, mastering the power of pause is well worth it. In fact, consider making this quote from Lori Deschene your motto: “Pause before judging. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing. Pause whenever you’re about to react harshly and you’ll avoid doing and saying things you’ll later regret.