Friday, August 7, 2009

Breathing from the Heart & the “Offensive” Email

Arriving back at your desk after lunch you’re met with an inflammatory email. You read it and instantly your blood begins to boil. You loosen your collar and your breathing shallows. A plethora of thought rushes through your mind: how to respond? When push comes to shove how do you respond?

Put your response off if you can. Inaction is the best way to respond in many of these situations. A colleague related with me one of these situations which occurred to him recently.
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He reflected that it was interesting to chart his emotions and the corresponding thoughts as to the content of one of these emails over his ensuing week. He read and re-read the email three times over that week and his heart/mind response to what it said became gradually more favourable. (His initial response was mild rage--imagine if he’d have responded in that frame of mind.)

Often times we’ll second-guess the motives of people, especially when our emotions are awry. Can any of us really trust our emotions, particularly when we feel attacked? The wounded child within us comes to the fore and pushes the normally calm adult interior into submission. The saint becomes carnal in an instant.

Placating the wounded child is one thing, but having the awareness of what’s going on is a vitally critical underpinning attribute to have in these circumstances.

Learning to breathe from the heart is about finding the mental and emotional maturity to weigh things in balance before clicking the ‘send’ button.

It’s about having significant and situational detachment from the trappings of the relational world.

It’s self-leadership and self-awareness and management of emotional intelligence.

I view breathing from the heart, in the context of the day to day, as viewing the preciousness of all our relationships in their true context. This is a view that protects us from regrettable actions inflamed by the emotions.

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