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Ok, the Positive Discipline Tool card I'm going to focus on this week is the 3 R's of Recovery: RECOGNIZE the mistake with a feeling of responsibility, not blame; RECONCILE by apologizing; RESOLVE by working toward a respectful solution.

Paul and I get along so well, neither one of us could remember the last time he or I needed to apologize for something, but a couple of experiences come to mind when I think about how I've used and need to continue to use this tool.

  1. My sons are grown. They're highly functioning, responsible young men, capable of making their own decisions and following through. I know this. However, if you know me, you know that I have a tendency to plan and control and I can easily overdo that when I'm stressed or very concerned about an outcome. I can step on other people's power out of the need to make sure that the outcome is the way "I think it should be." I've made a conscious effort to improve, but I can tell when I've slipped because my son becomes distant, there's tension in the air almost immediately, and I get an abrupt response to my request to do something. The last time I noticed the sudden frigidity in the air, I took a deep breath and said, "I think I stepped on your power. I'm sorry." Thankfully, my sons are very forgiving, and he said, "That's ok. Thanks for apologizing. There wasn't a need for a solution-focused discussion, so we ended there and the air was warm between us again.
  2. I've noticed that I can be impatient at stores and restaurants when I have to wait, especially when the person who's waiting on me doesn't seem to understand that TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!!! (Could it be that they're not capable of reading my mind?) There have been occasions when I've been downright rude and then regretted it after I calmed down, but it was too late to go back and apologize. The moment had passed and I'd driven away. I've decided to take a deep breath when I feel that tension rising in me, recognize that most people really are doing the best they can at the moment, and be polite and respectful. If I need to register a complaint, I will do so respectfully and calmly, and if I slip into rudeness, I plan to go back and apologize before I leave the store. On the times that I have actually done this, the look of surprise and gratitude from the person I'm apologizing to makes it totally worth the effort.

I like myself better, and I feel lighter. Brené Brown has an excellent (as always) podcast about the art of the apology. It's something I'll go back to from time to time, to listen again and remind myself.

Here's what I noticed over the last week of being ready to practice the art of apologizing: I noticed that I thought more carefully before I spoke. I considered whether what I was going to say was helpful, not hurtful. I practiced patience. I looked inside myself to determine whether I actually NEEDED to be in a hurry, and if so, what other options I had than pressuring someone to hurry up or continuing to stew myself into a fervor. If I didn't really need to hurry, I took a deep breath and practiced patience. I felt more at peace, I think my overall stress level in those moments was significantly reduced, and as far as I'm aware, I didn't need to apologize for anything. So interesting!

I'm tagging the people who tuned in and commented or responded with an emoji last week. Would be interested to hear if anyone else practiced any of these tools this week. (Interesting, also, that mindful willingness to practice one tool causes me to employ others.)  I'm curious about your thoughts and experiences using the 3 R's of Recovery. What have you noticed about yourself and the other person--child or adult--when you've offered a sincere apology? Thanks for engaging in conversation if you'd like to!

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