Monday is Yom Kippur.
For Jewish people, Yom Kippur wraps up 10 days of reflection and repentance that begin on Rosh Hashanah.
The words “Rosh Hashanah” translate into head of the year (signifying the start of a new lunar year in Judaism), and Yom Kippur translates to day of atonement.
There’s a story about a famous historical rabbi who was known for writing a list of mistakes he made each day before he went to bed.
He would write the list and promise to do better the next day.
The thing is, he often repeated the same mistakes he promised to correct, even as soon as the very next day.
Noticing this, a friend asked, “Rabbi, why write the list and make the promise each day if you’re only going to break it?”
The rabbi answered, “Ahh, good question…but tonight when I write the list and make the promise, I’m actually going to mean it!”
None of us are strangers to human error. No matter what we believe, what we practice or how we live, we all make mistakes.
The really cool thing about mistakes is that they help us learn.
Our capacity to grow is limitless.
The only thing that can stop us from learning from our mistakes is ourselves.
When we continue to try, even and especially in the face of repeated setbacks, we give ourselves endless opportunities to succeed.
When we model grace, self-love and a growth mindset we give our kids the same.
One area in which I’m actively working to grow is in my response to people in situations where I find myself emotionally triggered.
It happens to the best of us. Something is said or done that strikes a nerve and we respond from a place of emotion rather than a place of thoughtfulness.
The other day I tried a thing the other day when I found myself in that very situation. It wasn’t rocket science but it was a thing.
I was triggered and ready to speak in frustrated tones. I also knew that isn’t ever my preference.
Whenever I respond in negative ways it tends to increase negativity and extend triggering situations. So I gave myself a minute to consider my response.
In that minute I realized I needed more time. I knew I was on the right path, slowing down, breathing deeply, considering what impact I could have on those around me, thinking about how to lift the situation rather than dragging it around (and possibly even down).
So, I set a timer on my phone for 20 minutes. I made an agreement with myself that I would not respond in a negative way for at least 20 minutes. If in 20 minutes I still thought a negative, frustrated response was appropriate, then so be it.
Guess what. I didn’t. 20 minutes was just enough time for me to remember how much better it feels to meet a triggering, potentially negative experience or interaction with positivity, patience and grace.
Is it reasonable to set a timer each time we get upset? Is it possible? Maybe not.
That said, I’ve spent plenty more time than 20 minutes draining energy from myself and others with negative self talk, frustrated tones and unproductive confrontation in some situations.
To be clear it’s mostly all good. I’m generally surrounded by people who lift me up and I spend most of my time in positive, loving and kind interactions with those people.
I am human, though. So I do make mistakes and I do look for ways to learn from them when I can. I’m going to keep trying the 20 minute response strategy to positive pathways when I have the opportunity. Even if I fail a bunch between succeeding.
It feels good, and interestingly, it seems to enhance my relationships, provide others with enhanced outcomes, and move me through challenges even more quickly than when I respond to triggering situations immediately.
Slow and steady might actually win the race.
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead. Thanks.