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anger Christian Living

Let the Boo-Boo Breathe

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” — (Proverbs 14:29)

As a teacher at an elementary school, I’ve heard young children say some pretty profound things. I was out on the playground one day with the kids, when a little guy came up to me to show me his fancy band-aid. It was a big purple one that covered half his little forehead. He pointed to it and said, “My mommy says this is a magic band-aid. It let’s the boo-boo breathe.”

Let the boo-boo breathe

Not long after my conversation with the enlightened kindergartener, I was called to my principal’s office for a meeting with an upset parent. Before the mother arrived, I asked my boss how I should respond.

I’ll always be grateful for her advice. She told me that the less I said the better. “Most caregivers just want to be heard,” my principal said. “They need to know that you care about their child.”

So I listened. It was hard when the mother made unfounded accusations–based on false information from her child–but I held my peace until it was my turn to speak. Calmly, I said, “Maam, we each want the same thing; we both want what is best for your child.”

Instantly, the icy wall between us melted. The mother began, with tears in her eyes, to tell of her struggles as a single parent. Like my principal said, an overwhelmed caregiver just wanted to be heard. She needed to know that someone understood.

I wish I could say this is how I’ve always approached interpersonal conflict. The reality is, many times in my life I’ve lost perspective and overreacted in frustration or anger. This has usually only made things worse.

Here are a few ways I let the “boo-boo breathe,” to give myself a buffer zone before acting:

  • Do No More for 24 – When you’re super angry, whatever you say or do is unlikely to help the situation. Give yourself 24 hours (or more) to cool off, and then calmly state your grievances (if necessary) with the other party.
  • Just Don’t It – When you aren’t sure how to react to a situation, do this: NOTHING. Like the old song by the Beatles says, 🎶”There will be an answer. Let it be.”🎶 Okay, this one is almost the same as Do No More for 24, but not quite. Maybe it’s not necessary for you to DO anything.
  • Talk With a Trustworthy Friend – Sometimes it can be helpful to take the decision out of your own hands. Share your dilemma with a trusted friend–someone who is not so close to the situation–and let them help you decide.

Finally, here are a few of my favorite “Magic Band-aid” scriptures to let the boo-boo breathe. I’d love to hear some of yours. Or maybe you have a story about how a relational time-out saved the day. Please share!


“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” — (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

“The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hot headed and yet feels secure.” — (Proverbs 14:16)

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.” — (Psalm 37:8)

A parting thought:

The power of a particular emotion doesn’t necessarily determine it’s value.

Regular David (me)

Photo by Luca Severin on Unsplash

By davidsdailydose

I'm just a regular guy who was
tempted to lose all hope but did not. It was God who made the difference.

50 replies on “Let the Boo-Boo Breathe”

Understood. I am naturally a pleaser. Which means I sometimes go too far to get someone’s approval. I have found, at least for me, it’s hard not to do what’s in your heart. So I have to practice saying what I feel instead of covering it up. But let the boo-boo breathe first!

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I recently had a complaint about me from a family member. I was called distant and defensive.
I was in disbelief because I have had almost no negative reactions with family members. However, there were people that tried to enter the facility (it was allowed by someone other than myself) that I had to kick out for safety of the residents. Guess you can’t make everyone happy.
Unfortunately, my anger can be a problem. I am not quick to anger unless someone uses one of my triggers (everyone has one). However, when I get mad, my tongue is sharp.
It’s something I need to work on and have been getting better over the years.
It’s a work in progress.

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Thanks, Gary. A confrontational table doesn’t sound like a picnic, but listening to each person’s point of few (whether we agree or not) is paramount.

I’m using one of your photos from Unsplash for my post next Saturday. Blessings

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To get around the confrontational table and come alongside someone really does take much wisdom. A great story with the best ingredients David. It’s easy to act on our own (step aside God I’ve got this one) and…yep, been there.

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Doing and saying nothing (immediately) when emotions suddenly rise is such important advice. Over time, I have learned to apply it to almost every area of life, including answering upsetting emails!!! Better to wait than to regret ….

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Being an attentive listener is displaying so much care and compassion. I love all of the advice you give in this post David, so powerful! Yes, every emotion is temporary and most often it’s a careful response that’s required not a quick reaction. Silence is the best choice until the waves of energetic emotion settle. I often refer to emotional triggers as boo boos and old ouchies. When life brushes up against them, we always have a choice. In having the patience to give ourselves the grace is the most loving response I have found. Excusing myself from others and getting still. Really beautiful David❤

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Some of the comments are me bantering back and forth with folks. I try to engage with people who take the time to comment. Thank you for your contribution. The part about being anger and not sinning is a good one.

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My mom used to say that to me too! I’ve also realized that confrontations rarely happen in isolation. There are usually others around who will be impacted, likely in a negative way, by negative interactions.

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Some wise words here David, we all need to hear such things from time to time. I always remember my mum telling me often “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all!” Over the years I have practiced this (mostly). Thank you brother.

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I appreciate you sharing this scripture, Chris. It’s another good one!

I read somewhere, we should deal with the reactions of others—even if they make no sense to us. Listening to grievances is a crucial step to overcoming them.

Your last thought is spot on. Mis-information can spread both ways!

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My favorite verse for this is Proverbs 15:1. “Respond gently when you are confronted and you’ll defuse the rage of another. Responding with sharp, cutting words will only make it worse. Don’t you know that being angry can ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men?”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:1‬ ‭TPT‬‬
People simply want to be heard and for you to understand they’re upset. I tell people all the time to validate the other person’s anger. Once validated (letting it breathe), healing can begin. Anger is an emotion from God.
I used to work in early childhood development. I used to tell the parents at the start of the year, “I won’t believe everything they tell me about you if you don’t believe everything they tell you about me 😂.”

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I tend to be a passive aggressive clutch popper, if that makes any sense. Either way, our feelings usually come to the surface. Keeping the wheels on the ground, while working through our emotions, is key. Thanks for your thoughts, Jeff!

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Cooling down – that’s got to be the hardest thing. I’m glad you found that peaceful refuge in yourself to deal so well with that mother. It’s too easy to let our anger and defensiveness “pop the clutch”, sending us flying with the front wheel off the ground – no steering!

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Great post, David, with good advice.

It is good to exercise self-control, and not respond in anger- staying quiet and listening is good.

Self control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is the last one listed in the list of spiritual fruits.

I’ve often wondered if this is because self-control takes the longest time to to develop in us, through the work of the Holy Spirit. ⚘🤗 self-control is produced in us by God’s grace.

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Thank you David for passing forward this sage advice from your principal and providing some “Magic Band-aid” scriptures. One boo boo breathing scripture I am currently trying to commit deep within my heart is from Proverbs 12:18- “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” I am a parent by God’s gift and middle school teacher by trade and am so very blessed by your posts written from your Christ-loving, educator’s heart.

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Thanks, Betty. As a chronic “explainer,” just not talking, in tense moments, has also been helpful for me. Sometimes, I just wish I didn’t have to wait until middle age to learn that! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you and Dan enjoy your day as well!

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Another excellent post, David. What I try to do when I am feeling irritated is just not talk. Life has taught me this is generally a better strategy. Angry words cannot be taken back. Now if I’m mad, I usually can’t wait very long before it spills out, but I try to have a discussion and listen – More lessons life has taught me. Your post reminds me to be a good listener. Enjoy your day!

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