React or Respond

I have noticed over the years that much of our lives are spent in reaction to others and to events around us. These reactions are not always the best course of action, they can make some situations uncomfortable for us and those concerned.

Usually, these reactions are irresponsible actions that have consequences often based on fear or insecurities. We become defensive and allow our emotions to push us forward, often out of control.

When we are attacked or confronted verbally we go into a self-defense mode and argue back. We stop listening to what is being said and focus on ourselves.

When we act we become responsible. But when we react, we follow someone else’s choice.  We should not allow others to decide how we are going to act, to do this we relinquish control over our own self and allow others to determine how we shall act.

We have the choice about how we are going to act in certain situations. Although it is not always easy to respond rather than to react, it teaches us to grow as a person.

There are times when I have reacted to something someone has said, which caused bad feelings between the two parties. This then caused unnecessary stress to us both.

I remember when I was a child, my mother would tell me to stop and count to ten slowly when I was angry. Mum was teaching me to pause and calm down before I did or said something silly.

There are people in this world that enjoy pressing buttons just to see how we will behave if we react they feel they have won. They enjoy casting the bait on a line and watching others take the bait.

If we respond with “Why would you say or do that?” , then wait for the answer, we will have the upper hand.

Responding, on the other hand, does not always come easy to us. It takes a moment to pause and look at the situation and decide what the best action to take is, that will not cause upset to us or to others.

To be able to respond rather than react we must know who we are and what we stand for. It is also important to recognise what we have control over and to learn to detach from what we don’t.

How we respond to others is an indicator of how the world around us judges the type of person we are.

When we respond in a positive way to negative comments, it is a chance for us to demonstrate to others that we can be a caring and thoughtful person.

– Nancy

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