By Susie and Otto Collins
We've all been there.
As we look back at our past relationships,
there is undoubtedly at least one memory
that makes us cringe.
In the midst of a
disagreement we jumped to a conclusion and
ended up saying or doing something we later
While guilt won't change past words spoken
in anger and hurt, learning skills to do
things differently the next time a
challenging situation comes up can make all
You may even enjoy increased intimacy and
connection with your love by learning to
If you watch television at all, it is hard
to miss all of those reality and game
shows. Contestants compete to be the
dancer, bachelorette, survivor or comic.
winner gets the cash, celebrity status, even
the handsome groom.
just about every one of these shows, when
the winner's name is about the announced,
intense music plays and then there is a
cannot be denied that the pause is a major
part of the program and it is when a lot of
the action takes place.
In the space of the
pause anything can happen-- at this point in
the game, there is no winner so everyone
could still be the chosen one.
Though in a slightly different way, the
pause is also an important part of a
connected love relationship.
matter what the situation-- maybe your
partner is working late and your suspicion
radar goes off-- it is too easy for your mind
(and heart) to begin to race and head you
down a path you may not otherwise want to
In cases like this, a pause can help
Just as in the reality game show, in the
space of the pause anything is possible. In
a difficult situation, if you can meet your
mate with a mindful response rather than a
knee-jerk reaction, chances are it will
resolve more lovingly.
Learning to recognize when you are
triggered, paying attention to what you are
feeling, and pausing-- taking a moment-- will
better equip you to deal with whatever is
The overall results will likely be
a deeper closer connection.
Here are 3 tips to try...
1. Tune in and make note of your feelings.
is all too easy to go into a kind of
autopilot reacting from fears and hurt when
we are triggered. Sometimes these fears and
hurt are more relevant to a past situation
than to this present moment.
Regularly tune in to how you are feeling.
Start out tuning in to feelings when you are
calm and content. Keep on practicing even
when you are irritated or angry.
Focusing on your breath as it moves in and
out of your body is one way to do this.
Acknowledge the feelings that are present
with your breath. Avoid linking a storyline
to the feelings.
For example, instead of dwelling on the
storyline of "I can't believe she forgot our
anniversary!" and "I must mean nothing to
her!" pay attention to the feelings behind
that storyline which might include fear,
disappointment, or anger.
2. Take a pause
you get into the habit of regularly tuning
in to your breath, tuning in to your
feelings while letting go of the storyline,
learning to take a pause will be easy!
Begin in a context that makes you feel
annoyed and not one that gets you really
fired up. It could be you are standing in
line and someone cuts in front of you.
case like this, take a pause; notice your
breath and the feelings that are there for
you instead of turning to your friend and
complaining about what just happened.
you practice taking a pause, it can become
more habitual. Soon in the middle of an
argument or situation that pushes all of
your "buttons," you will be able to pause.
3. Be sure to reconnect after pausing
Let's be clear here. We don't think this
process should end at the pause. That might
mean stuffing down your feelings which won't
After you breathe, acknowledge your feelings
and pause, be sure to say or do what you
It is more likely that-- after you
pause-- how you share your feelings or
choose your actions will turn you in a
direction of reconnection with your love
rather than towards more disconnection.
This process is NOT about avoiding
disagreements or conflict by holding your
tongue; it is about taking care of your
needs AND opening up to more connection.
The pause you take could allow you to see
that suspicious feelings about your partner
have more to do with a past relationship
than with this particular situation and
Recognizing unresolved feelings and hurts
and then talking with your love about them
is important. This allows him or her to know
where you are emotionally and what you are
When you choose to take a pause, you give
yourself the gift of clearer perspective.
In that space you are better able to let go
of a story that may or may not be accurate.
You may also more easily know what you need
to feel better-- this could be an action,
speaking up, or just sitting with the
emotions that are bubbling within.
the space of the pause, anything is
possible! You can use the clarity to move
towards deeper intimacy with the one you