Confession: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been somewhat impulsive. We’ve talked about this on the blog from time to time since I started it back in 2013, and while said impulsive behavior has always been very well intended – as it had always stemmed from excitement, or from my desire to things done quickly (and hopefully efficiently) – it was still wreaking havoc in my life. This wouldn’t necessarily get me in to trouble (when you think “impulsive” you might think gambling, drugs, getting into debt, etc. Not the case here, thankfully.) – rather it was more like rapid fire responses to questions and emails without fully thinking things through (which would lead to typos, using the wrong names to recipients (true story. #facepalm), letting things fall through the cracks), purchases that I didn’t sleep on (which would lead to buyers remorse and leaving me with a closet of things I only “liked” rather than loved), committing to things before I was ready (which would lead me to feeling insanely resentful), committing to plans simply to people please only to want to back out days later (which would lead me to feeling incredible amounts of guilt, or making up harmless situations that would award me a get out of jail free card, which I’m just not about anymore), etc.
As you can tell, these impulsive tendencies were anything but mindful. And as you all know, that’s why this blog was born in the first place.
Over the past 5 years that I’ve been blogging, the impulsive tendencies have definitely gotten better since I dedicated to making drastic shifts in how I operated through day to day life. Now that we’re at the near end of 2018, I can tell you they’re about 98% gone. If I act out of impulse, that’s when I feel taken aback or uncomfortable. It’s no longer second nature for me to respond in that way. This is a huge feat, and I wondered if any of you suffer or have suffered from the same behavioral patterns?
What I’ve come to learn is that being able to take pause is like exercising a muscle.
Slow and steady reps multiple times, over a consistent amount of time, and then you’ll start to see results. Yes, I just made a gym reference.
A perfect example is when I receive an email – whether it’s personal or it’s regarding work, and I don’t know the answer right away.
Instead of just taking a beat and responding with “Just wanted to let you know that I got your email! I’ll get back to you ASAP” to take some pause before responding, more often than not I’d respond immediately feeling guilty that they’ve already waited however long. This requires me to think up something fast, and it may not be genuine (saying yes to plans that don’t feel good to my insides, committing to a work gig that now leaves me with zero free time one week, double booking myself, etc.) It all just came down to people pleasing, and the only person left unsatisfied was myself.
When we practice living from the mindset of “I’ll get back to you” with anything – shopping, making plans, taking on more work, answering a question that we might not know an immediate answer to, etc.. we start to strengthen that muscle and then, something really lovely happens:
It starts to become second nature.
The other lovely thing? While you’re over here thinking that by taking pause, you’re disappointing people • what’s really happening is that you’re gaining their respect (and respecting yourself in the process). By taking time to be thoughtful and authentic with your responses and your behavioral patterns, you’re gifting yourself with time – and that’s something we’re always trying to gain more of. So the next time that something comes up that has you feeling frazzled and you can feel your sense of urgency start to rise, remember this one word:
Just be. Sit with yourself and know that the world will not crumble if you take some time to dig and find the answer you’d like to give out. Even as something as mundane as a sweater. Give yourself space to figure out if what you’re about to do is an act of pure intention or guilt, pure intention or discomfort, pure intention or pressure.
As humans we’ve all earned the right to think things through • and with a world as busy as the one that we live in, with instant gratification, it’s no wonder we’ve forgotten how to pause.
Other Noteworthy Things:
• My 2018 Fall Capsule Wardrobe went life yesterday! It’s my favorite one yet.
• In case this post inspired you to make some more self improvements, you can read this post I created a while back that’s a 30 Day Challenge to Self Improvement. Just one thing a day for 30 days.
• In need of some lovely tunes to calm your insides this season? Grab my 2018 Fall playlist on Spotify.