You’re angry. That’s understandable. Your boss has been awful. The contractor still hasn’t finished fixing the bathroom. You just spilled coffee on your shirt. Or maybe it’s one of those days with the kids: One kid lied to you about doing their homework. The other talked back to their mother. A third still made scrambled eggs and forgot to turn the stove off.
But before you do respond, before you scream, are you trying to burn my house down?—can you do something? And by something, actually nothing? Can you just wait for a little bit?
Seneca said that “delay is the greatest remedy for anger.” That’s the truth. Delay is also the best way to let your mind clear, to make sure that anger isn’t going to make you do something you regret. Anger is an exaggerator. It sees the worst in a situation. Anger is an exacerbator, too. It takes a bad situation and makes it worse with its overreaction. Delay will help you make sure that won’t happen.
No one is saying you can’t respond at all. You probably will have to address this. You will have to say something. They do need to learn that lying is not acceptable, talking back to their mother will not be tolerated, leaving the stove on could burn the house down.
But wait a minute. Let cooler heads prevail. Turn it into a teachable moment.