Tool For Tuesday: If You Lose It, You Lose It.

I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
— Winston Churchill

I had a talk with my stepdaughter, Libi, who has a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old. She asked, “How did you do it with so many kids?” (There was Libi and her brother, who were 11 and 9, and then my four kids, making six kids under the age of 11!)

I said, “When I felt like I was going to lose control, I tried to remove myself from the situation.”

My friend, Maggie, always used to say, “Emotional control is more important than situational control.”

Meaning, it’s more important staying in control of your own emotions—being stable and not losing control of yourself—than winning the argument or wresting control of the situation. (You WILL take a bath. NO, I won’t. YES, you will. NO, I won’t, and so on.)

But it doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with three-year-olds and 33-year-olds.

If you lose it, you lose it.

If you lose control of yourself, all bets are off. If you don’t think you can maintain control in a tense situation, bring it down a notch and fast. Three tips:

  1. Take your feet and go. Get out of the room. If you’re the Mom of small kids, get to the bathroom even for two minutes to take deep breaths and close your eyes and get back in control. If you can’t do that, close your eyes even for ten seconds and pray up. Remember if you lose control, your kids will lose even more control and the situation will spiral even further out of control.
  2. If you’re having an argument with an adult, you can say:

Let’s talk about this another time.

Or, I need your help on this. Let’s talk about it another time.

Or, I hear what you’re saying. Let me think about this.

3. Agree with the other person. If you’re charming, you’re disarming. Then talk about the situation when it isn’t a crisis.

Use neutral phrases to give yourself some space between your spinning mind and your mouth.

Remember, try, try, try to take a deep breath and then get control of yourself. Keep your voice neutral.

That’s why I like what Churchill said. If we really do want to learn, we have to be willing and open to be taught.

Tool For Tuesday: If You Lose It, You Lose It.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
This entry was posted in Be Less You To Be More You, Tool For Tuesday, Transformation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tool For Tuesday: If You Lose It, You Lose It.

  1. Now you tell me how I should have reacted, tee hee.
    Another insightful post, Diana. 🙂

  2. This post is sooooo true, Diana. But I’m still laughing at what happened to a good friend of ours.
    He was a proud, perfect grandpa–of 4 grandsons–and then came Emma, the first granddaughter. From day one she had his number.
    She was three when he was babysitting (while his daughter was in the hospital in labor–she had another girl! ohboy). Emma was feeding her green beans from lunch to the dog, one at a time, dropping them on the floor. Finally, Grandpa was about to lose it, so he left the table and went to sweep off the front porch, saying, “I need a few minutes.” When he came back a few minutes later, Emma wasn’t at the table. She had locked herself in the bathroom!
    He tried to talk her into opening the door, and she kept saying, “No. I need a few minutes.”
    Now they have TWO granddaughters, and everyone is still teasing Grandpa.

    • dianabletter says:

      HA HA! Marylin, that is funny! I love when kids repeat our comments in surprising ways. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: BEST MOMENT AWARD | Things I Want To Tell My Mother

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