Were you ever placed in timeout as a child? While it probably wasn’t fun, it may have given you a different perspective, at least temporarily. The timeout was designed to stop the trajectory of unacceptable behavior. For at least a short time it probably redirected your energy.

As adults, we are called to monitor our own behavior. It’s up to you to adjust your energy and behavior as needed. If you push too forcefully in one direction, the results may not be favorable. Let’s say you have an important goal in mind. Dedicating yourself and focusing your mind on a goal is a positive strategy. But if you hold on too tightly, you can unknowingly squeeze the life out of it.

Relationships, work and other aspects of life including goals all require space. If, for example, you drive too single-mindedly in your work without rest and relaxation, you are apt to burn out. If you push too strongly in a relationship and don’t allow breathing room, you inadvertently create sizable problems.

Sleep, meditation, vacations, restful days, active listening, and play time are all examples of creating space. These are direct forms of self-care and self-regulation. Do you regularly integrate these or other space-giving practices in your life?

What does it mean to create space in a relationship? It may be as simple as doing less of a behavior. For instance, if you’ve been told repeatedly by a friend or relative that you don’t really listen to them, you can alter that behavior by paying attention without distraction when they are speaking. Those kinds of tweaks give room for the relationship to grow and possibly flourish.

There are parts of us as humans that could use a timeout so that positive transformation can take place. It may be a blind spot for you. What type of feedback have you received? What areas of your life could benefit from a regular timeout?