Lately, I've been paying closer attention to the things I do and say and their impact. It's been sobering. Though I do not have a personality, in general, that tends to light fires, like many - I have a reactive side. What I've noticed is: reacting doesn't work in service to what I really want. Responding does, but responding requires taking a moment to take in what's transpired.
Here's an example:
My 13 year-old son went out in the snow the other day, while I was in my bedroom exercising. Soon, he started throwing snowballs at the sliding glass door of my room. Agitated and jarred, a reactive impulse arose. But my son tends to push back fast and I didn't want war. As an experiment, I said nothing and waited. Things seemed to calm down. But then he started again, returning to the door, snowball in hand, making a ruckus.
I took a beat and spoke to him through the sliding door, pointing out that he might damage the glass. He balked: the snow was too soft. Then I did something my reactive habit would never have done: I agreed. There was nothing screwy with his perspective; it made sense. Then I shared mine - packed together the snow wasn't as soft- and there was a chance it might crack the glass ( keeping my claim moderate, rather than exaggerating and making the situation seem bigger than it was).
All I wanted was peace and for the glass to be left alone. If I told him to stop doing what he was doing, I would be making what he was doing wrong. And the ego always takes that as attack. I'd be starting a war. And there was no need to make him wrong. Peace came when I acknowledged the truth - not an overblown, reactive version. Peace came when I made no effort to make myself the RIGHT one. In this way, I answered the situation with balance (all perspectives being equal) and there was nothing for him to fight against. I had let go of being right and so did he.
From the Inside