When we talk about self control, one of the hardest moments is when we are being criticized by another person. Especially if the other person is someone close to us, a family member in particular. Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be when a husband or wife, mother or father criticizes? It may even trigger something inside of us from a previous event that makes it difficult to maintain our self control.
Here is a 5 step process to maintain self control and not have even more damage control to do later in the relationship.
- Be willing to accept criticism. If we say the first thing that pops into our head it may be retaliatory and we probably have not thought about the position of the other person. Most of the time the criticism is given with good intentions, and while we may not agree with it at that moment, learning to accept that the other person sees us in this way may help us in our relationship.
- Take a time out. Reacting to the person in the heat of the moment may find us saying or doing something that we will later regret. We need at least 20 minutes to allow the adrenaline to slow down – sometimes more time. This is not a time to drive a car or beat a pillow, but is time to take some deep breaths, take a walk and cool off. (if you do leave the situation set a time that you will return and do not just stomp out)
- Do not bring up the past. When we have cooled down and we have started the conversation back up with the person that spoke to us, we do not want to bring up past events or things said. This only fuels both parties anger.
- Listen. Of course we want to tell our side of the story, but if you truly want to bring peace to a situation listen first to how the other person is feeling – really listen. You may find an area that deserves your apology and the other person if they feel listened to, will be more likely to hear your thoughts too.
- Say, “I am sorry.” Contrary to the belief of some – all humans have the ability to use those words and when done so in a sincere manner are very helpful in getting everyone in better control. Especially if this is a family member that you have a disagreement with, just ask yourself, ‘If this was my best friend, how would I talk to them, what would I say?’
Self control and anger control or management are two subjects that are very close in nature. During the month of March we will be talking about anger management. In addition I will be teaching a class for Anne Arundel Community College on anger management for kids. I am looking forward to sharing that experience with everyone.