Watching a young toddler play the “peek-a-boo” game is such joy. It’s the laughter and connecting that elicits the giggles each time the toddler yells; “Do it again!”
Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a “do over” moment when you have said something you didn’t mean, or you make a mistake you want to correct? It is possible that you could declare to others: “Time out – I want to take a do-over!” and start again.
Embracing the idea of taking a “do-over” gives you space to keep practicing and can reduce getting discouraged if your reactive habits keep coming up. The “do-over” practice has inspired us to be kind to ourselves when we go reactive and fall into the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). Yes, it happens to us too—it is part of the human experience!
Unfortunately, we often hear that people can become even more self-critical after they learn about TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®. They tell us that, with their awareness of the DDT and the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer and, now, the “antidote” of the TED* roles, they believe they “should” be able to stop themselves from slipping into these toxic roles.
There may be many reasons why you become triggered and fall into the DDT. You may catch yourself being judgmental of a family member, instead of seeing them as a Creator. Feeling guilty for saying something harsh to another, you may engage your inner-Persecutor and beat yourself up. Or you may fall into trying to fix or change someone in your family by adopting the role of Rescuer and doing for them they could do for themselves.
As we often say, this work is simple but not easy. So, we need compassion—for self and others—in the “two steps up to one step back” process of practicing the empowered TED* ways of thinking, relating, and taking action. “Do-overs” are a way of resetting.
Just noticing when drama gets going is a huge step forward. Then you can pause, and say, “I will do this over. I am going to try again.” This relieves yourself of the pressure and grandiose expectations by just starting over. Whatever your focus and desire, give yourself the gift of space and grace to begin again.
And when you take a “do-over,” it encourages and invites others around you to also take their “do-over” moments when they arise. All human beings want to grow and change and “do-overs” encourage learning. How amazing it would be if your entire family or work group took responsibility to pause, stop, and do things over when drama moments happen!
Developing a “do-over” practice will nurture your willingness to stay focused on the outcomes you want in your life. We recommend these steps to help you cultivate a “do-over” practice:
- Notice when you get triggered into the DDT. Notice rather than judge and then pause. What are the circumstances or situation? What can you say or do differently?
- Or, if the time has passed, look back and take responsibility for what you have done or said and identify a way you could have been more empowering to yourself and others.
- Then, if at all possible, call a “do-over” and begin again with a new attitude of compassion and openness and responsibility.
Adopting a beginner’s mind and a child-like attitude will help you to use the “do-over” exercise with a playful approach. This will build your resilience and give you energy to keep moving forward.
Living through this pandemic is teaching us all a new way to live—learning to pause, slow down, and choose a more empowered lifestyle. It takes time and beginning again, over, and over, and over.