“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” — Rick Warren
What exactly should you do after you lose your temper and yell at someone?
How do you repair the relationship, especially if it’s meaningful to you?
According to Dr. Becky Kennedy, a Clinical Psychologist there are specific things you should do.
The big idea from Dr. Becky Kennedy, the parenting whisperer, is that even in the midst of challenging moments when tempers flare, it’s possible to repair and strengthen relationships.
Her approach emphasizes self-compassion, genuine apologies, and open, constructive communication as essential steps toward healing and fostering healthier connections with our children and others.
This idea extends beyond parenting and is applicable to all meaningful relationships in our lives, emphasizing that it’s never too late to reconnect and grow.
Let’s break down this insightful advice by Dr. Becky Kennedy, which is applicable to any meaningful relationship, into actionable insights:
Step 1: Repair with Yourself
Imagine you’ve had a moment of overreaction – maybe you lost your temper. Your first instinct might be to beat yourself up about it.
But Dr. Kennedy suggests that before you can make amends or offer understanding to someone else, you need to access those qualities within yourself.
Here’s the key:
Separate your identity from your behavior. You can be a good person who momentarily acted out of character.
Remember that you’re still the caring parent, the good boss, or the loving partner who, in this instance, slipped up.
Don’t let your behavior define your core values.
Step 2: Repair with the Other Person
Apologizing is good, but true repair goes beyond that. Instead of merely closing the door on the incident, focus on reopening the lines of communication and connection with the other person.
A meaningful apology involves three essential components: acknowledging what happened, taking full responsibility, and articulating how you plan to act differently next time.
Avoid justifying your actions with phrases like “I wouldn’t have reacted that way if you had…”
This approach helps rebuild trust and frees mental space that would otherwise be occupied by rehashing the incident.
Step 3: Discuss Ways to Do Better
Once trust is reestablished, shift your focus to finding solutions. Consider not only what you can do differently but also how you can help the other person develop the skills and understanding to prevent similar situations in the future.
Remember, the person on the receiving end of your reaction is more likely to be receptive to your advice or guidance once the relationship is repaired.
Dr. Kennedy emphasizes that these steps may appear simple but are incredibly powerful.
They allow you to turn your worst moments into opportunities for growth and connection. By effectively repairing the past, you change the memory from one of discord and regret into an experience of connection and constructive development.
When you find yourself reacting excessively due to external stressors or triggers, remember to first repair your relationship with yourself, then with the other person involved.
Focus on meaningful apologies and constructive conversations, and discuss ways to prevent such incidents in the future. These small, thoughtful interventions can transform challenging moments into opportunities for growth and connection.
TED Talk on Repairing a Relationship After You Yell at Someone
The bottom line? It’s never too late to rebuild those vital connections.
The Single Most Important Parenting Strategy | Becky Kennedy | TED
We’ve all been there – those moments when our temper gets the best of us.
Clinical psychologist and celebrated parenting guru, Becky Kennedy, is here with practical wisdom to guide you through the challenging aftermath of losing your temper.
She not only offers advice on how to cope with the guilt and shame that often follow, but she also demonstrates how to engage in conversations that can transform your conflict into connection.
And here’s the secret: her insights apply to all relationships.
Why Managers Should Never Yell at Employees
While most people know it’s never smart to yell at an employee, Alison Green really frames it and lays out why.
Alison Green on never yell at employees:
“I don’t think managers should ever yell, regardless of the provocation.
It’s demeaning to the employee being yelled at, it’ll create an environment of fear for everyone who witnesses it, it will damage the manager’s authority and reputation, and it will make good people not want to work for her.
I say this not to chastise you — you’ve made it clear that you regret doing it — but to lay that out clearly.
Managers who yell typically do it because they don’t know how else to achieve whatever it is they’re trying to do — get feedback to stick, get work done quickly, ensure a mistake doesn’t keep happening, or whatever it is.
Because they don’t know how to get things done any differently, they feel desperate and frustrated, and yelling feels like the only tool they have to get their point made.
But whenever you talk to someone as their manager, there’s an implied “or else” behind what you’re saying.
And while that sounds rather tyrannical, the irony is that remembering that will usually make you sound less tyrannical … because when you’re confident in your authority to escalate the consequences if you need to (up to firing, if needed), you know that you have the tools you need to get the results you need, and can therefore stay more calm.”
How To Apologize Better to Repair Your Relationship
So you apologized, maybe not as good as you could have, but then what do you do?
Alison Green on how to apologize better and how to follow up:
“Now, what should you do at this point, post-yelling?
If you hadn’t already apologized, I’d recommend saying something like, ‘I want to apologize to you for yelling at you earlier. I let my frustration get the better of me, and I was wrong. No one deserves to be yelled at at work, and I’m really sorry that I did.’
Since you already did apologize, you could follow up this way:
‘I’ve been thinking about our conversation the other day and why I lost my temper, which I regret doing.
No one deserves to be yelled at at work, and I’m sorry that I did. I’m frustrated that we’ve had several of these conversations and I haven’t seen any change in your behavior.
So let’s talk about what needs to happen on that front and what it means for your work here if it doesn’t, so that we’re both on the same page going forward.'”
Forgiveness Enlarges the Future
If you get stuck in the past, or even the present, you’re missing out on the future.
Here’s a quote from Paul Boese that reminds us why the future is where to focus:
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” — Paul Boese
Once you realize the possibilities of the future, you also realize the power you have in the present.
After losing your temper and yelling, repair and strengthen relationships with self-compassion, sincere apologies, and open communication.
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