While on vacation, my husband and I shared a soy latte on a park bench in a suburb of Sydney. We also shared a sticky ‘cross-bun’ and watched little children take short pony rides while their mothers’ recorded the experience on their phones.
The coffee was yummy and we were savoring the moment when my husband put the cup down on the bench and it immediately spilled off the side and onto the ground top first.
Even though the lid (thankfully) prevented the whole cup from emptying, I watched as he retrieved the cup swiftly and we both gazed at the three-sip loss on the ground.
What I noticed next was my inner mind talk that I, thank goodness, did not say out loud:
“Why did he do that? I never would have done that. That was stupid. Geesh. Look at all that spilt really good coffee. I could be mad with him right now. I should be mad at him. How dare he waste our $6.60 latte experience.”
And then something truly magical happened next in my inner mind talk:
“Oh wow. Isn’t it great Celeste that you said none of that out loud!”
Because frankly, I have said a lot of that out-loud before. And folks, it never leads to a happy moment. It only leads to shaming and blaming *(from me) and a feeling that we now have to shake off in the coming minutes and possibly hours.
On that park bench, I wanted to cry over spilled milk – literally.
I was set and ready to criticize my partner for something that he of course didn’t plan to do.
In no way was he pleased with himself or the situation either.
When I wasn’t so evolved or skilled in the past, I would heap some disappointment (ie. critical commentary) on to him.
It would then multiply the moment’s upset into an arena that would wedge a palpable and uncomfortable distance between us that then needed to be repaired. Read How to Repair from a PACT-trained colleague.
So this was a huge WIN for me (and the both of us).
And I’m claiming it right here for you to know! Actually, I’m bragging about it.
WHY? Because when growth happens, when someone acts or behaves in a way that is best for the relationship, we should share the good news.
My mind’s normal reactive approach to a downer moment, didn’t win on that park bench.
Being calm and non-reactionary is often not the normal state for humans. So when you have a win, I urge you to celebrate it and share the news!
We can change. We can adjust our behavior. We can notice the quick critic in the mind and choose again.