When hearing the word “pause,” we may automatically associate that with pressing the pause button in the midst of a popular Netflix show. In fact, we often overlook pausing in our daily lives; we a are often unaware of its beneficial impact. On this beautiful #WifeyWednesday I would like to introduce the power of pausing during an argument with our significant other. I know this sounds difficult, even impossible, but it IS doable and effective.
We may already be aware of our argument style in relationships. We tend to know what ticks us off, how we respond, and how the argument is resolved, or even swept under the rug to further build on resentment for future arguments. Yes, we may be aware, but somehow we continue the cycle. Perhaps we are unfamiliar with how to bring about change. The beauty of pausing lies in its ability to help clear our minds and sit with what’s happening internally. Pausing allows us to decide if a response is required and how to respond most effectively. Only after pausing, checking in internally, are we able to break the habit of reacting.
Exhibit A: Having checked in with myself and my triggers, I am very well aware of the fact that I am triggered by people who overly explain a particular matter. My brain processes this as “Do you think I am stupid or something?” and then I move on to react with a nasty comment or snap back in irritation (not good my friend, not good). My husband on the other hand, has always loved to over-explain his circumstances, and if I may add, speaks slowly while doing so. This would drive me NUTS, and small tiffs would arise out of my irritation with his over-explanation, causing me to snap. He then would get frustrated with my attitude, and the cycle would spin round and round like the Wheel of Fortune.
During one particular conversation between my husband and I, his over-explanation of an incident struck me like the venom of a poisonous snake, but this time I was ready to respond differently. I paused with precise mental awareness, and scanned my body for sensations that I was experiencing. I felt my chest heavy, my breathing more shallow, a tightness in my throat, and an uncomfortable sensation in my stomach. I then checked in with my feelings. I felt sad, frustrated, and insecure, which was slowly manifesting into anger. I welcomed all of these sensations, and quietly mumbled, “You are okay…These feelings are all okay.” With these words I comforted myself, allowing a warm sense of compassion to sink in. The new awareness of how I felt, and where I felt it, allowed me to accept my feelings, and even more so, the person I am. I felt free of the hypnosis that was feeding the cycle of anger within me. I felt that I could finally communicate clearly with my husband, and address my concerns. “Sometimes when you over explain yourself, I feel like you are talking down to me, which hurts my feelings. I know you may not be doing this on purpose, but I can’t help but think that when I hear you talk about something, like you are right now.” Startled that I responded so gently, my husband went into defense mode for a moment, but when he noticed that I did not feed into it, he looked at me and explained that this was never his intention, and that he is simply used to speaking in this manner to everybody. He then added that he will do his best to be more mindful of his conversation style, and I agreed to not perceive his over explaining negatively, and not take it personal.
Pausing is just one of the many tools/methods we could use in our relationships. This is not to say that a pause can fix a failing partnership, but it can help some couples come to some sort of a resolution. It may be difficult if only one person is pausing in the relationship, but with consistency and diligence, the argument cycle can slowly be broken. The other person can learn to loosen up, and let their guard down, now that their “pausing” partner is no longer adding fuel to the fire. This broken cycle can help the couple bring awareness to deeper rooted feelings and thoughts, which are usually beyond the typical surface level problems. This, in turn, may lead to more fluid, and respectful communication.
I invite you all to take a pause in the midst of your everyday life. Whether this means pausing in the middle of an argument with your significant other, while brushing your teeth, working, talking to someone, etc. Once you have paused, scan your body from feet to head, and pay close attention to any sensations and what they feel like. I encourage you to sit with the sensations and the feelings that may arise. These feelings may be fear, pain, love, anxiety, etc. Welcome these feelings, and allow yourself to feel them, as opposed to dodging them or avoiding them by engaging in something different. Welcome what is happening in your body, heart, and mind. This way you bring yourself closer to acceptance from within. <3 #WifeyWednesday