SBLR: A Lesson In Life

One of my favorite lessons during my time as a Girls on the Run of Alachua County Coach was the lesson of SBLR. We did these fantastically fun activities with dancing and choreography, and the girls (and I) learned how to handle confrontation, peer pressure and other “uncomfortable” situations. (At Girls on the Run, we learn that there aren’t “good” or “bad” emotions, but “comfortable” and “uncomfortable” ones!)

I’ve benefited much from this lesson, but that doesn’t mean I always remember to Stop, Breathe, Listen and then Respond… even in the company of fellow GOTRAC volunteers!

We will be focusing the next couple of months on several topics that relate to the female gender as a whole: What is real beauty? How do media and other influences shape the things we like and how we see ourselves? What can we do to break the walls of the “Girl Box?” Should pink (the color) be banned? We found that as we dug into these topics (shaped by current events) we had some very convicting, conflicting and dissenting views which brought out some strong opinions. This brings me back to SBLR.

As we discussed these topics and how to present them to our audience (via e-mail, no less), the “send” button became the enemy. When I read a response from another board member, one that differed in many aspects from my own deeply held beliefs, I quickly shot off a response that gave the appearance and tone of anger, frustration and disrespect.

Soon, we were all texting and e-mailing apologies and offering explanations to those included on the threads – all in an effort to diffuse the damage we had done by not following the simple lesson we teach our young girls. Thankfully, no real damage was done, and we were able to catch ourselves before things escalated further.

Had I stopped to breathe and listen before responding, I would have realized that the e-mails I read and disagreed with actually made some very poignant arguments I would soon come to agree with. I would have also saved myself the embarrassment and disappointment of offending and disrespecting a colleague in a way I didn’t intend to do.

In the end, it only strengthened our convictions to bring these topics to you, our GOTRAC community, in an effort to diffuse the very differing viewpoints we share on topics that impact women of all walks of life. The end goal is not to force everyone to agree on any one topic, but to appreciate and understand why others have the opinions they have – all with the common goal of shaping a generation of empowered, confident and joyful women who are free to pursue their dreams.

We ask that as we engage in these conversations (on our blog, Facebook and even in person) that we take a lesson from the pages of the Girls on the Run curriculum and remember to SBLR:

  • Stop: The first reaction isn’t always the best one when confrontation or similar situations arise. It’s easy to fly off the handle and speak before our brains (and our manners) catch up. While there are certainly times when a fast reaction is merited, more often than not a quick response will leave you mopping up a mess. Giving pause before reacting to any situation is a healthy way to face sticky situations and ensure you can give others the respect that you would want yourself.
  • Breathe: Allow steam to build up for any period of time, and it will shoot out as forcefully as it possibly can in an effort to depressurize. Rather than let your emotions run like a ticking time bomb, take a few refreshing deep breaths to diffuse the mounting pressure. Not only will it calm nerves, lower blood pressure and relieve stress, but a deep breath will help hold back your words at a time when they may not be quite ready for release.
  • Listen: In my own life, I’ve seen my greatest flubs came when I was slow to listen. Whether I misinterpreted another or made assumptions about what they were going to say, a great deal of embarrassment could have been saved if I had just let my ears do my talking. When you listen, you empower yourself to make an informed decision about what and how to act towards the situation.
  • Respond: Now that you’re calm and have all the information, it’s a safe(er) time to reply. But, take note: just because it’s the next in line doesn’t mean it has to come immediately. Sometimes, cycling through the first two or three steps will help you respond in a respectful way.

I look forward to sharing these conversations with you!

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