The temperature rises. Words come across unkind. You sense a negative tone in the air and feel uncomfortable. All you want is for everyone to feel good and this is not going down that way.

Do you engage? Do you step away?

You can trust that any time you feel uneasy it’s a great time to insert a pause, collect your thoughts, and then respond in a compassionate and confident way. 

That’s easy to say huh….so how do you make that real? 

Well, you’ve got a wonderful built-in detection system in your body. It’s always guiding you like GPS towards a more peaceful solution. Uneasy feelings signal – do something different because more of the same takes you in the wrong direction.

It’s a choice. Yet, sometimes it feels out of your control because your habit isn’t strong yet to step back and observe. 

And when you do step back, even if it’s for 5 seconds, you can see the situation more clearly. You see information that was missing. Things look a lot different than when you were entangled in the situation going on.

Conflict happens in life whether it’s at work, at home, or at a simple place like buying groceries at Whole Foods. So, you can use a peaceful mind to to build your pause and show up more confidently. 

3 Easy Ways to Pause and Show Up More Confidently

1. Recognize Your Patterns

An easy place to start is with what you already know. Think back over the last month. Like a detective, scan your memory for instances where you found yourself in moments of conflict. Look at all areas of your life – family, friends, work, community, etc. Start to list out the main area where you find these situations arising. 

Then, once you’ve noted these down, add another column to include what happened in your body when the conflict started occurring. Did you feel tight in your chest, was your head reeling, did your shoulders go up, did your face become hot? Gaining familiarity with these conditions will help you notice when’s the right time to pause. Then, you can practice in advance. 

2. Look in the Mirror 

This simple way can help diffuse a tense situation quickly if you put some effort into this. Whenever you hear someone start to get upset, use a strong tone, or say harsh words, pause and imagine a mirror. Just suppose what you’re hearing is actually how that person talks to themselves or maybe even worse. 

Give some thought about the inner experience that person is going through far beyond what you can see. If there’s suffering outside, there’s suffering inside. Seeing others in this way can give rise to a lot of compassion. With compassion, you can go past what’s in front of you, feel empathy, and move forward in a confident and calm manner. 

3. Change Your Body Position 

If uneasy feelings arise, take a moment and move your body in an open position. Uncross your arms, relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw. Shift your concentration for a few moments to your body and let go of your tension. Let the story of what’s going on float away and breathe in and out. 

Physically changing your position to an open stance helps you let go and relax. It may feel strange at first so just try in the privacy of your own home. Clench your body and then open it up. A confident mind thrives when the body relaxes like this. 

In Summary

Pausing is a wonderful tool to help you relate with others in a compassionate way. Showing up confidently like this creates a safe place for you and everyone around you. With practice, you’ll become more skilled and the pause will come to you more naturally. 

Please share in the comments what is one small way you can practice your pause – whether it’s becoming aware of recurring situations, using compassion, or your actual body. I’d love to hear what’s most do-able for you.