Wow, what a week last week was for me. I was super busy with my real job, life at home was its usual chaotic routine and I finished writing the first draft of Hold On, my second novel. I also had to deal with three separate “instances” where I was put into a position where I needed to enact the 24-hour rule.
I guess someone is trying to teach me a lesson.
The 24-hour rule
I’m not sure who came up with this idea, but it was a wise, mature person for sure. If you don’t know what the 24-hour rule is, it’s basically when you wait 24 hours before you respond to something that has upset you or made you question what was going on in your life. For someone like me, who tends to be sensitive and at times impulsive, this rule is imperative.
How best to spend the time
I really don’t want to go into specifics about what happened with me, because it really isn’t relevant to all of you. However I think the way I handled it can be applied to any situation.
Upset? Try this…
1) Try not to react immediately: That’s the hardest for me. I don’t like to hold things in and usually feel better when I’ve spoken my mind. Walking away and putting some space (literally or figuratively) between you and the situation can help with perspective. I’m giving myself BIG kudos for doing this this week because I very easily could’ve caused some serious damage with my initial response.
2) Talk to people close you: I’m super lucky in that I have a really great support system. My family and close friends listen and are honest with me. They say things I don’t want to hear, but need to hear. I got some great feedback regarding these situations and talking about how I was feeling helped me decipher what was valid and what wasn’t.
3) Figure out your objectives: Will any good will come from your reaction? Will it cause more harm than good? Are you cutting off your nose to spite your face? If you answer yes to any of those then you might want to reconsider your plan of action.
4) Decide if any of this really matters in the big picture: I was all wrapped up in my own drama when I read a post from a friend commenting on his son’s chronic illness. This is a story of a great little boy who is facing a battle he shouldn’t have to. It made me realize that some of the petty drama that was circling around in my head was sooo unimportant.
The proof is in the pudding
How did the 24-hour rule work for me this week? Well, one thing was just really so unimportant that I let it go after I vented about it for a little bit. I realized it wouldn’t make any difference if I said anything, so I didn’t. I acted on the second thing. I’m not sure my opinion will matter in the grand scheme of things, but I feel better for standing up for something I believe in.
The third thing…well, I spent longer than 24 hours on this one. Sometimes it takes a little more time to process things and that’s okay. When I did finally respond, I knew that I was 100% sure of my words and thoughts. By that point, I was in a position to listen and not just react. It paid off. I knew it would and that’s why I did it. When in doubt, give it some time. What a difference a day can make.