Tipping and Turning Points

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INSIGHT OUT By Adina MorrisI

Have you ever found yourself like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming  truck, a wreck waiting to happen? What do I mean, you are thinking? Well, that is how I felt recently when in the midst of what was supposed to be a great day, something suddenly happened that had the potential to sour the entire day. And, it was up to me, I was the deciding factor, the tipping point or turning point if you will. I could make the rest of the day miserable for me and everyone around me, or I could turn everything around.

Now you are probably wondering what great magical powers I must possess to have the ability to make such a drastic difference in not only my day, but the day of everyone else around me. How can that be? Well, as the old saying goes, ‘if Momma aint’ happy, aint’ nobody happy.’

We were out on a trip having a great time, when someone did something that was so infuriating, with the potential for serious consequences and I was left with the decision of how to respond in my court. I will not reveal any more details of the actual event to protect the innocent and the not so innocent, however, the main point is that my first knee jerk reaction was to yell, ‘what are you doing? What were you thinking?’ Once it became clear that the person’s actions were not taken well, I was so upset I turned away from the person, I couldn’t even speak. I was still fuming trying to get a handle on what just transpired and what could be done about it. Well, unfortunately the damage was done, and nothing could change the fact. The only thing that was left in limbo were my frayed nerves, my fried emotions and what my mood and attitude would be for the rest of the trip.

It would be really easy to become self righteous in that moment, and say, ‘I would never have done that! What possessed you? And now look at the damage you caused! How could you?’ These comments would be very real and in many ways valid, however, the question I pondered on turning away was, ‘how will all of these negative thoughts serve me now?’ Did I want to ruin the rest of the trip for myself and everyone around me? I could have easily spent the rest of the day brooding and going over all of the possible consequences from the person’s actions, and in the process make them feel even worse than they already did. And more so, I could have sustained serious damage to our relationship with all of the negativity that could potentially last longer than the duration of the damage initially caused.

In my turning away I decided to turn back towards the person. I looked the person in the eye and said, ‘let’s not stress out about this now, and instead move on with the trip. We will deal with the damage when we return, nothing more can be done now.’

My turning away, allowed me the space to think before I spoke and to come up with a thought out response (my reaction was the initial quick and painful outburst). That became my tipping point that allowed me to turn back towards them and respond in a more positive way. I acknowledged and gave space for moving on. I did not request or expect an apology for carelessness of action, as it was not malicious intent, however, not well thought out in the moment. Why you may ask? I think mainly, because if we got in to that, I might have turned back on them and started up again.

The clarity I gained in my turning away was to preserve our trip, the person’s dignity and not to cut into the fabric of our relationship in a negative way. This was the tipping point. What would happen if I allowed my negative emotions take over and run the interaction? I played it out in my head and decided it wasn’t worth it.

How many times a day do we have these tipping points? How many times a day or night do we want to turn away rather than turn towards? How do we acknowledge our feelings out of respect for ourselves, yet still find the space to maintain respect for others in turning back towards them with the goal of maintaining a positive relationship? It is hard, this was no easy task. Negativity in that moment would have been a much quicker route. But not nearly as satisfying in the long run for either of us.

As another old saying goes, ‘a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips,’ here too, our response in the heat of the moment can truly last a long time, so let us think before we speak, be present in the moment and ask ourselves, ‘how will each response serve me in the long run?’ It is not about who is right and who is wrong, rather, where is the most mutual benefit to be found here?

As many of you are on break or about to be on break in the coming days, I wish you all forethought to be present in those tipping point moments and turn away in order to turn back in a more positive mood for the benefit of everyone!

#Tippingpoint #Turningpoint #thinkbeforeyouspeak #turningtowards