When I was younger, I thought being responsive was a strength. As more and more things demanded action, it became more and more difficult to respond, and more and more frustrating to me when I was unable to do so. Discussing it with my coach, I found that taking a brief pause gave me a space to make a conscious decision about how, or even if, I respond.
I use my own example to demonstrate one of the ways you can practice mindfulness. When I introduce the idea to a client, I explore different ways of expressing it so it feels comfortable to them. Phrased differently, it’s a way of letting your old habits or reactions be present for observation rather than becoming a call to action.
The pause can become a powerful tool for you. Once you begin to use it, the world around you can be a nicer place. And once you start to practice mindfulness, you may see other things in your life you want to change.
Mindfulness isn’t a magic wand you can wield from time to time, but a decision you must make consistently in response to things that stir up frustration, anger, or disbelief in your mind. As you become better at managing those things, you may notice how comfortable you are in the pause. It also may mean you have to be honest with yourself about how easily you react to the things that stir up unsettling emotions.
One of my clients recently told me how she had come to appreciate the pause. She is working in a new field and finds herself facing the realities of workplace relationships. When she takes a moment to pause, she sees for herself what options she has rather than defaulting to a response that’s mindless and automatic. She’s now helping others in her office see the same options for themselves. I’d call that a success!
What’s keeping you from being comfortable in the pause?