Tag Archives: Reacting vs Responding

Relationship Guideline 2 Part 2

Why are you reacting rather than responding? This is the second half my second relationship guideline. This guideline asks both parties to do a couple of things, the first is to look at themselves first not the other person. The second is look at what they are doing before they act or speak.

Reacting is actually a way of responding to situations, it is almost always negative in the way it is done and you seem to have no choice about how it comes about. You are in a situation and you react, there seems to be no other option.

What if I told you that is the biggest lie you ever told yourself. Choice is the greatest gift we humans have been given and we always have it. Reactions of the emotional variety are simply ways we have conditioned ourselves to respond to things in an automatic way. This does not differ with reactions of the physical variety like ducking when something is thrown at you. Even reaction time is the same, you can actually speed up or slow down your reaction time with practice.

Your response to situations of the emotional variety are our subject today. When we react it is automatic, any other way of responding requires thought.  There is another bonus to responding rather than reacting, we can choose not to respond to some things at all. That was a real eye opener to me, I never knew I had the option to keep my mouth shut and my hands at my sides. I thought we always had to react with either our tongue or our fists.

The automatic response, called reacting, is not always our best response to any situation. The lesson I learned was when confronted with a situation to take a deep breath. The action of taking a breath was all that was needed to stop my automatic reaction and I could engage my mind and think of a better response or to not respond at all.

It is interesting that today my automatic response to most situations is to take a breath and think.

I say this guideline takes study and practice and it does. We do not stop reacting to situations instantly. The process takes time. For me learning I did not have to react that I can respond gave me that glimmer of hope there may be a better way of handling things in a relationship, I hope it does for you too.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

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