Have you ever said or did anything while you were upset and almost immediately afterwards wished you could take it all back or perhaps respond differently? Of course, you have, and I have too. I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I was so upset that I could not contain my emotions, let alone the words that flowed from my mouth like lava from a volcano or that were haphazardly composed in an email. Some might say my words, whether uttered or written represented my true thoughts and feelings. I don’t presume to speak for all emotionally high-strung folks like me, but my experience leads me to believe that when my emotions are running high they are usually not in alignment with any logical or rational response my brain is able to process. Instead, what happens is that my judgement becomes impaired which causes me to make poor decisions resulting in consequences that I did not foresee occurring. Simply because I did not take or have the time to process what was upsetting me or for that matter why I was upset. The end result is usually misunderstandings, twisted interpretations, inflamed rhetoric, cuss words flying every which way, and of course strained relationships. Even a pint of ice cream (preferably Haagen-Dazs’ Dulce de Leche or Pralines and Cream)! All. To. Myself.
Waiting 24 hours might be the difference between me providing someone a theatrical cussing out or a more subdued cussing out (laughing out loud as I type this)!! All jokes aside though. Even after giving yourself a cooling off period; a time out of sorts to process what the hell happened, you might still have to give that person a piece of your mind. And that’s okay. But, there is nothing like giving someone a piece of your calm, cool, collected, and intelligent mind. Letting them know you’ve thought it through and like my momma used to say, “I mean what I say, and I say what I mean.” Mic dropped. Maintaining your cool will keep you from being perceived as some crazed person shooting from the hip, lunatic style. Unless of course, you want them to think you’re a little bit of cray-cray. If that’s not how you want things to go down, then maybe you want to think it through, so you can avoid having to revise or recant your response or action. Again, that’s if you care at all.
Honestly, though. There have been times when I didn’t maintain my cool. Almost immediately after pressing the send button, I would go back and reread my email and I’d wish I could revise it. Say something in a different way or say something totally different altogether; just because I didn’t take the time to process what it would mean for me. Someone once told me that whenever you’re asked to do something or go somewhere, and you know for certain that you are not sure about it, always say “Let me get back to you on that.” “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Responding in this way will give you 24 hours to process their request and to determine what it means for you.
There is no rush, and if they are in a rush, and need your answer on the spot, then you can say, “If I have to give you an answer today, then the answer is no – but if I can get back to you in a day, then my answer might be different.” This will give you that time you need to process.
Once upon a time I needed to make a decision about whether or not I was going to take my talents elsewhere. I had three interview requests; one of which I had committed to accepting. The others I had not responded to at all. I remember the thoughts I had streaming through my brain regarding my place of employment and why I wanted to leave. How toxic it had been for me. How anxious I felt being there. How I felt like I was spinning my wheels, and not moving people and things forward. I really felt hopeless. Helpless too. So, I said yes to all three interviews.
A few hours (not even 24 hours) later, I began to process my feelings even more, and as I did, I realized that I had not really thought through my decision. I know… A toxic work environment. What’s to think about? Get the hell out, right? Not so fast.
After reflecting on the situation, the next day I decided that I wanted to be the change I wished to see. I wanted to be a change agent. I had not accomplished all that I wanted to accomplish. My commute was only a few minutes from my home. I had teenagers in high school. Do you know the things that teenagers can get themselves into?! After weighing the pros and the cons, I decided that I was going to stay. Once I made the decision, I was comfortable and at peace. I just needed to be still and listen to what my heart and my God was telling me. Whatever would come from this decision, I knew it was the right thing for me to do and that I was where I was supposed to be at that time.
We live in a complex world where information can be obtained through the click of a mouse. We want everything delivered to us at lightning speed through our cellphones, laptops/tablets, cable TV, and WIFI service. You want information? Google it. Sadly, some people expect us to make decisions in this same manner. I say RESIST. Give it twenty-four hours, at least. Whatever your decision, make sure it makes you happy. And remember indecison is a decision.