The Power of a Purposeful Pause
One of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself this holiday season is to take purposeful pauses throughout your day.
When people first learn about the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT), they tell us how the DDT perfectly describes them when they are stuck in old, reactive habits. Immediately they ask, “How do I stop occupying the DDT and interrupt these old habits?”
With practice, they learn that simply pausing and calming themselves before they engage in stressful situations is the easiest and quickest way to transform their reactivity.
The power of the pause is huge and an essential key to moving out of drama. If you don’t pause, you are at risk of living like a “wind-up toy,” continually hooked by fear-based feelings.
We call this a “purposeful pause” and deliberately emphasize the word purposeful for a reason.
Ask yourself, what is the purpose of taking a pause? Is it to ruminate and wallow in your complaints, judge the situation, and who or what was wrong? Or are you intentionally taking a moment to remember you always have a choice about how to respond to life’s challenges?
It is important to trust that a purposeful pause will benefit you. In other words, the time you take for a pause has a purpose that is valuable to you. If you do not believe this, your pause will be hijacked by the lure of activity and other distractions that are always part of life. Even worse, an ego-centric voice will often tell you to keep working, to push or try harder, all of which will only feed the DDT.
If you take a micro pause for only a few seconds or a longer pause for hours or even days, the purpose is the same. It is to remind yourself you are a Creator and no matter the circumstances you will always be a Creator. You are a sacred source of goodness despite the appearance of stressful external circumstances.
When you are reminded of this truth you are building your capacity to redirect your focus toward what you want rather than focusing on problems and what you don’t like or want. What emerges is a personal freedom that is infinitely empowering.
A purposeful pause can be as brief as taking a few moments to be aware of your breathing, putting your phone down and closing your eyes. Your intention is the key here—if you are intentionally redirecting your focus to a moment of rest, your brain and heart are given permission to relax and regain clarity and calm.
Here are a few situations where it is a good idea to take a purposeful pause:
- Before you respond to a potentially upsetting email;
- Before and during conversations that you feel may be stressful or difficult;
- Before and during meetings, especially those that involve “high stakes;”
- When your day is on high speed and slowing down is the best option for creativity and making good decisions; and, for many,
- To remain calm and kind during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and its demands.
By hitting the pause button, powerful new options arise that support the journey from the DDT to TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® and the roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach. Instead of automatically reacting, you have a greater capacity to choose a more creative and skillful response to life.