Bridezillas are an interesting phenomena, although I confess I haven’t encountered too many of them. Actually, they aren’t very unique in the realm of human behavior – when we feel stressed and don’t stop to look at what is really bothering us, we often project those feelings onto something or someone else and lash out. Part of the benefit of a meditation practice is that teaches us to do what our mothers taught us to do before crossing the street – stop, look, and listen before acting!
We stop when we feel like we might lash out to give ourselves time to consider what it really happening. Often we can feel that we must respond quickly or the opportunity to respond will be lost. More often than not, such a belief simply isn’t true. We believe that we must respond this instant, but we should recognize that we absolutely can say, “give me just a minute to consider how I feel about this.” On the other hand, if an instant response is required, it may be best to just not respond at all and allow the opportunity to pass. Remember the old maxim: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
After we have stopped, we look at the situation to which we feel compelled to respond. This is the time to ask ourselves if we have really understood what has happened that we feel called to respond to, as well as to look at the origins of our response. Are we responding to the situation in front of us, or are we being triggered by some event in our history or some belief we hold that really isn’t germane to the situation in front of us? Again, if a helpful and relevant response doesn’t appear, it is better to just remain silent.
Finally, after we have stopped and looked, and whether we have chosen to respond or not, we listen in an engaged way to whatever is coming next. So many times we find ourselves formulating our response before hearing all the details of that about which we are going to offer our opinion! We have also been on the other end of that situation as well. All of us can probably remember a time that someone responded to something we said and we have no idea what it is that we said that they are responding to! I learned early on in my preaching career to not be surprised when someone told be after a sermon that they really loved when I said “xyz,” despite the fact that I never said “xyz!”
Adopting a new practice such as “stop, look, listen” takes time, and I am not suggesting that I have achieved perfection in this or any other area. That having been said, like any other practice, there is much to be learned in the trying, much to be learned in growing – in this instance the most obvious area of growth is that we become happier with how we respond to those we love! That alone is more than enough reason to give it a try!