Unravel - what exactly does that mean to you? What does it even look like or feel like? Have you experienced the feeling of unraveling?
A perfect example is the recent incident with Serena Williams at the US open. Oh my word, was that not just the most interesting example of unraveling.
We will get back to this, but first, it is important for us to know when it is happening and being aware of what to do when we have the warning signs building up inside of us. Also, we should be are aware of when it is happening to someone else.
It would be great to have enough awareness, that when we are about to unravel or lose it completely, we have the coping mechanisms to slow it down or at least remove ourselves from the situation so that we don’t cause more unnecessary hurt and leave total destruction in our path.
Some of the warning signs for me when I can feel myself unraveling is usually a feeling of boiling over and getting all hot, almost like a volcano from the inside out. At this point, my thinking accelerates and the words are defensive and confused. The things that I start choosing to say are hurtful and harmful either to myself or the person on the receiving end. There is no reasoning at this point, nothing can stop me in that instance. There is nothing that will stop the vindictive choice of words or even actions and the behaviour directed towards the people I love and care for. How awful is that? There is no logic or rationalizing my thoughts. It’s all about me at this point.
So I ask you again. Have you ever felt like that?
Let's get back to the Serena incident. When she started to unravel, it was almost like she should have pushed the pause button and remembered that less is more. She should have not continued to throw out all the things she said by saying things in order to cover up the original unraveling. She should have taken accountability right there and then and stopped herself from embarrassing herself and everyone else around her.
Remember when you unravel, it is not just you who feels embarrassed it is everyone around you. You should have a simple game plan when you unravel and here it is: THINK - FEEL - ACT.
Having this tool in your box allows you to identify the physical feelings of when you are about to lose it. You will get flustered, or hot under your collar for a better word. You will get angry and want more than anything to put/push your point of view across. You will want to scream, break something even cry from pure frustration at this point. These are all warning signs. So if at this point you would be more aware of you are thinking and feeling, then you would possibly push that invisible pause button. Learn to walk away and be in a clear zone where you can cool off and rationalize what just went down.
You can Think about what just went down and process. Fee andl allow yourself to feel and imagine how the other person feels and then you begin to realize there were 10 better ways of handling the situation that just went down. The ACTING part is the interesting part. This is when you either go back and finish what you started with a better choice of words and reasoning or you go back and apologize for the way you handled the situation.
Unraveling does not necessarily mean that you were wrong, but rather wrong in the way you handled a situation. Serena still has not learnt from her own mistakes, because this has happened before during other matches and tournaments. There is that saying: The first time you make a mistake it’s a mistake but the second time you make that same mistake, it is a choice.
We need to know and understand our HOT button and knowing and learning how to handle it better will help you see it coming. You will be more in control of your unraveling and even be able to cool someone else down before the damage is irreparable.
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