Think before I act

When my girlfriend broke up with me, I lost my mind. I was acting completely emotional with depression. If I could think before I act, try to fix the relation rationally and act strategically, it may lead to a completely different result in my life.

Instead, I was getting crazy and every step I took was self-destructive. I was going down on my knee to beg, hoping my sincerity would change her mind, but it did not. It does more harm than good as it shows that I was demanding and insecure.

She blocked every way of connection, from WhatsApp to phone call and social media. I should have respect her space and let myself calm down as well, but I was doing the opposite, the more I tried hard to fix the problem, the more I pushed her away from me, which was ironic.

My irrational behaviour leads to a negative consequence. Nothing can help me to get control of the situation. Everything just falls apart. My girlfriend just did not come back, and it was because I did not think before I act.

Later on, I met another girlfriend, and she broke up with me. Again, I got into the same desperate situation. The one who used to love me the most also hurt me the most. Astonishingly, a woman could become so cruel without any pity no matter how hard I tried to apologise for those minor issues.

And this time, I knew I could not repeat the same mistakes. The right thing to do at that particular moment is to think before I act. I should sit down, control my craziness and maintain my calm. I think rationally and reflect on what had gone wrong, then took the right action. The right action was not to commit suicide.

Instead, I need the courage to walk away from the situation, and not taking any destructive behaviour with the last hope of fixing the relationship. And the only way to fix a relationship is to fix the root cause of the problems, be more mature and try to bring back the attractiveness. The most unattractive thing to do for a man gets my knees down to beg.

Love is emotional. The actions I took to fix a broken relationship was touching. However, the only person who felt touching by my actions was myself only. It was not touching to my girlfriend when she did not love me anymore. It does more harm than good because those actions would just become annoying.

I might have done differently in that situation by think before I act. I was not rational at that moment and all the actions I took was driven by fear. The root cause of the fear was insecurity, the fact that my needs for love were deprived. The fear that I would lose the woman that I love forever. And now my worst fear had become a reality.

It might have turned out better if I had thought before I act in that kind of terrible situation. I had no way to express my emotion, and I got into a depression. I should have sought help from family and friends or even professional counselling to help myself get out of that journey.

The moment I got into depression, there was no hope in front of me, and I had no courage to face the difficulties in the future by myself. I was deeply frustrated with the interpersonal situations I found myself in.

Books were my best friend to coach me about this situation. There is nothing new about breaking up, which happens every day in the world. Books advise me to think about relationships from the woman’s perspective. What is a woman thinking during the breakup? What do they value? What do they want and need? And to put the advice into action, I have to control my natural instant and think before I act. Look for the other side of the story. Think about the other perspective at play. Investigate my emotional reactions, and observe when those irrational reactions.

After I apply that advice in life, I did recover from the learning experience, and I even recovered my relationships with my girlfriend. I was focusing inward during the relationship, creating even more anxiety for myself. Instead, go from “me” to “us”. Shift the focus to what matters.

In more general terms, we should think before we act, especially in an intimate relationship, in which we tend to lower our guard to show our true self by acting or speaking stupid before thinking sometimes.

I need to learn how to think, which includes having a quality conversation and sympathetic listening. Also, I tend to think better after getting exercise, with increased blood flow to key areas in the brain. I should avoid taking actions at the moment when I had the lowest level of self-control, which tend to make poor decisions.

To get the balance, I should avoid thinking too much without taking any actions. Thinking and doing are two fundamentally different ways of comprehending the worlds, although many people confused the two. Business Studies is an ideal degree if you want to obtain Business Studies professorship, but not if you want to work in business. Studying literature is perfect if you want to be a literature professor, but don’t imagine it’s going to make you a good writer.

Thinking does not translate into doing. Professors of ethics, who are occupied day in and day out with moral questions behaved no more moral than anyone else. I cannot wisely read a book on how to keep fit and leave the physical exercise to another. I need to act after I think.

Also, it is important to know what is inside my circle of control and what is outside of it. The circle of control contains just one thing, which is my thinking. I have got just one thing to manage, which is my thinking before I act.

And I need a way of testing my thought process. Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth. Until you go through a month of everything that goes wrong, you will not know whether you have what it takes. You will never learn how to play good poker if you get lucky, it is as simple as that. You just would not. Before I get fancy with strategy, with the curlicues and trappings of expertise, I need to answer something more basic: Am I thinking correctly before I act?

By Victor Leung

Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science. AWS Certified Solution Architect with experience in building products from scratch and serving as a charismatic leader.

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