Last year I was back East visiting my parents for a few days when my mother and I got into one of our spats. I love my mother more than I can articulate, but we get into arguments every once in a while that leave us on non-speaking terms for days. Not good.
It usually ruins our stay together and I end up feeling like a train wreck. We say things we regret, and when the argument is over, neither of us can even remember how it began. We're out of alignment, and if I’m out of alignment with even one person in my life, I feel out of alignment with the entire universe.
Can you relate? Have you ever said something that was either so ridiculous or so spiteful that you wish you could take it back?
Of course you have.
I know I have. Too many times.
We all become monsters of our madness at certain times in our lives. Our stress can definitely get the best of us. With so much going on around us every minute in this very intense and competitive world, it’s easy to see why we may react without thoughtfulness.
However, as crazy as our lives may be, there is absolutely no excuse for atrocious behavior.
So, what’s the best way to stop yourself from saying things that you don’t really mean? How do you prevent yourself from sticking your foot in your mouth to begin with, so you never have to eat your words?
Here are some tips:
Zip It! When you are frustrated or upset, walk away.
Use the 24-hour rule. Do not respond to anyone or any situation that is going to make you sound like a crazy person within at least 24 hours. As one of my mentors, Marie Forleo says, “Check yourself before your wreck yourself.”
Breathe! When you get upset, your stress levels rise even more and you may find you are not even breathing. Inhale long and deep. Exhale all the air out.
Sounds like a plan, right? Yes, in an ideal world you would never again say anything inappropriate. Realistic? No, of course not. You will always have your not-so-perfect days and something yucky will unintentionally slip out.
So what do you do?
Be proactive and clean it up! There is nothing better than an apology. It's the glue that brings all the pieces back together. I cannot think of any circumstance where an apology has been inappropriate. It can repair pretty much anything so long as it’s sincere. So even if you feel self-conscious (which you should), approach that person, and say you are sorry.
So, who are you writing your "I’m sorry letter" to now? I’m going to call my mom just to tell her I love her.