Take a ‘time-out’

“[There is] a time to remain silent and a time to speak” (Koheles 3:7) “Rabbi Shimon the son of Elazar would say: Do not appease your friend at the height of his anger ” (Avos 4:18) –

A TIME-OUT IS ABOUT AVOIDING DAMAGE TO THE RELATIONSHIP. A time-out is from the issue – not the relationship.

Conflicts happen in every healthy relationship. During these conflicts, we may feel overwhelmed with emotion and find it hard to think clearly.

Sometimes anger gets the better of us, and we say things that we later wish we had not said.

If we are in a state of mind that tells us to fight, flight, or freeze, then we are not in the state of mind needed for listening, understanding, connecting and reconciling.

If we are not in the right state of mind for solving problems creatively, then no amount of talking will ever lead to a resolution.

Take a break—a time-out—to create space to calm down, to get into a different state of mind to find solutions.

A time-out is an interim measure (just as putting on an oxygen mask so one can effectively respond to the emergency). It is temporary and it doesn’t solve anything by itself. It just keeps us from getting to a point of saying or doing something that we would later regret and helps us to get into a frame of mind to respond appropriately to a crisis. –


During the time-out, think about:
* What should I do next?
* What was really happening?
* How was I coming across to my partner?
* What was I doing or saying that made it difficult for my partner to accept my message?
* How was I part of the problem?
* What do I need to change?

FINAL THOUGHTS: Remember to call the time-out for YOURSELF. It is seldom helpful to tell the other person “You need a time-out!”

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