One key to success: Rapid Recovery

You are responsible for your second thought and your first action.

My son and I were having some Father-Son banter a few days ago, and he said something that felt like it crossed a line. It stung, and I didn’t like it.

It was one of those quick back-and-forth things, and I didn’t catch my emotion before a retort came out of my mouth. I responded in kind and stung him back.

Right away, I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to act or who I wanted to be as a Father. I’ve been trying to be more deliberate in saying good things to my son, and here I was, putting him down.

We all fall off the wagon.

I’ve been aware that the place I’m least the person I want to become is at home with the people I love. So when I reacted in that way, not only was I acting the opposite of my intention, but I was also reinforcing my own self-judgment about who I’m being at home.

I could feel the pull to self-pity (“Oh, I’m the worst. Why do I even try to be better?”) or denial (“It wasn’t that bad, we were just joking around!”).

But something different happened that day. I apologized.

”Hey man, I’m so sorry. I don’t believe any of those things I just said. In fact, I think the opposite. I’m proud of who you are becoming; you’ve been making good choices this summer. I love you.”

Getting back on is more important than never falling off

I’m resigned to the fact that I will be creating relational messes with my family, co-workers, and friends for the rest of my life. Human nervous systems evolved in very different circumstances from the ones we live in. I’m trying to retrain my brain, but I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% there. I’d be happy to get 50% there!

So, instead of worrying about every mistake or imperfection, I’m focused on improving my recovery time.

If, when I run off the road, I quickly realize it and steer back toward the middle of the road, I’ll do less damage (to myself and others).

That’s why awareness and presence are so critical. When I’m present to the people I’m with and aware of the impact I’m making on them, I’m more likely to know right away that I drove off the road, and I’ll have pretty good information about how to steer back on.

How do you find your way back “onto the road” when you’ve made a mistake? What helps you to improve your recovery time?

I’d love to hear your ideas. Hit reply, and we can all learn together!

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