CHECKING YOUR ATTITUDE
PAUSE, CHECK, CHOOSE
STEP THREE: Pause and Check and Choose
Step 3 is the step where you pause, reflect, and neutralize. Take a moment to review your process by asking yourself some questions: "What was it that triggered me? What were my Negative Intention thoughts and feelings?" The next step is to pause, check, and say, "Okay, where am I right now? I've assumed negative intent. I am assuming this person's out to get me. What am I defending myself from?" When you reflect on your process it allows you to separate yourself from it. When you can create some space around your negative pattern of thinking it helps to neutralize the associated negative feelings.
As odd as it may seem, it is often helpful at this step to take a deep breath. Your breathing is deeply connected with your feeling state, and taking a deep breath helps clear the emotional palette and calms the nervous system. When you neutralize, you reset the flight or fight physiology and restore the logical circuits in your brain. We are not talking about hyperventilating, but taking two or three good, deep breaths will help change your feeling state, increase the oxygen in your system, and actually help you think better.
Go ahead and try it right now: one…two…three…fill all the way up like you are filling your whole body to the very top of your head, then exhale, letting your lips come open and relaxing your jaw. Neutralizing allows you to let go of the Negative Intention that you have been holding on to from the past and imagine into your future. Neutralizing is letting go of the negative chatter inside of your head and letting everything come to a gentle pause.
Neutralizing is intentionally suspending the need to make a case against that person or situation. Neutralizing is letting go of being right about how wrong you think the other person is. Neutralizing is letting go of your right for revenge. Neutralizing is putting down your sword and shield and stepping away from the battle to be in a quiet place where no defense is necessary. It is relief.
Neutralizing is taking that moment to put the machinery of your mind in neutral. It is not forcing your mind in any way. You cannot coerce or force your mind into neutrality; it is something that you intentionally allow. Neutralizing is allowing more space in between your thoughts. It is a moment of meditative silence.
Your body will let you know you are neutralizing because you naturally will relax. Your mind relaxes and becomes quiet. Your body relaxes and becomes calm as you return to a peaceful center.
It is only when you allow your mind to completely quiet that you can truly choose. This choice point is represented by the circle in between the two molecules. You become aware of both possibilities of assuming good and Negative Intention. By letting your mind pause and letting go of the past, you no longer need to cling to Negative Intention to defend your feeling of being hurt. You no longer have to avoid but can choose freely.
It is a moment where you get to ask yourself, "What do you want for yourself?" "What is the direction you want your life to take?" "What is the experience of your life that you want to have?" Whatever the answer, you ask a follow-up question: "And if you had that, what you wanted, what experience would you have?" "And if you had that, what you wanted, what experience would you have?" You keep asking this question until you end up with a purely positive state of mind...and that leads you to the place where you will be ready to choose your Positive Intention and take a fresh look at the event of your life.
Now you are ready to look at identifying the Positive Intention to reframe the situation that you are in into a positive context.