by Suzie Doscher
Learning how to respond to a situation rather than reacting brings huge rewards. Needless to say, it is one of those behaviour changes that are easier said than done. However it can be achieved.
Being able to respond to /act upon means you are in a mindful place - a place where you are aware of your thoughts and feelings. This means you have considered the situation and the response that best suits you.
To be able to 'respond' means you are choosing your behaviour .
To 'react' indicates that a button has been pushed – something triggered you not to take the time to think and consider your response. This can often leave you in a position at the mercy of others.
Some of the gifts you give yourself by stopping the knee-jerk type reactions are:
The rewards will be felt not only in your private life, but also at work. Time and patience will be necessary and understanding that making mistakes is normal during this 'reprogramming.'
Different kinds of 'reactions'
•The damage from spontaneous reactions sometimes cannot be undone, e.g., in situations where a good first impression is crucial. During a job interview, an overreaction or reacting without consideration can result in not getting called back for a second interview.
•There also are reactions that fall under the heading of "the best defense is a good offense." If you get triggered, you might react defensively. The outcome of an offensive reaction is rarely what you would like it to be.
•Some people create situations in which they can react -- the bigger, louder and more dramatic the better. These are people who thrive on chaos. This kind of dramatic reaction allows them to control the situation. In this case, it is best to walk away.
•In emergency or life and death situation, your instinctual reactions serve you well. These are not the reactions I am referring to here.
Everybody has certain relationships or situations, which bring out the worst reactions or overreactions. Being busy and stressed can magnify a reaction. In contrast, when you are relaxed, you are better able to take time to assess the options and possible responses to achieve your desired result.
Many reactions come from your upbringing, experiences, assumptions and beliefs that are limiting. One of the responsibilities of being an adult is to recognize that you have the power to change. Introspection, personal growth and personal development work will help give you a better understanding of where triggers might come from and specifically what might set them off.
With the support and encouragement of a coach or other professional to decondition yourself from habitual reactions to people and situations. 'Debugging and reprogramming our software' is a wonderful gift to yourself.
8 Suggestions to help you learn how to stop reacting and start responding / acting:
In summary, by learning how to respond rather than react you are giving yourself:
"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it"
Charles R. Swindoll
A Practical Handbook