by Suzie Doscher
Learning how to respond to a situation rather than just reacting to it brings huge rewards. Needless to say, it is one of those behaviour changes that is easier said than done. However it can be achieved.
Responding to something means you will have taken some time to consider the situation and which response best suits you. To be able to ‘respond’ means you are choosing your behaviour based on your values, needs, integrity and desires. To ‘react’ means you have chosen to allow outside influences dictate your behaviour and tend to leave you at the mercy of others.
The gifts you give yourself when you stop the knee-jerk type of reacting are a sense of strength, achievement, power to influence, calmness plus an increase in your self-esteem. The rewards will be felt not only in your private life, but also at work. Time and patience will be necessary and making mistakes during this ‘reprogramming’ time should be expected and allowed.
Different kinds of ‘reactions’
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.
It is possible 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 Tips to help you learn how to stop reacting and start responding:
Choice – having taken the time to reflect upon the situation you tend to have more options to choose from than just the one,which was a ‘reaction.’
Power – you keep your personal power by taking the best possible care of yourself by not reacting, and waiting until you can respond constructively. This makes you feel strong.
Less Stress – buying some time to make a constructive choice you avoid exhausting the emotions otherwise present in a reaction that are draining.
Calm – Knowing that you can handle situations that in the past have pushed your buttons brings a calm, an inner peace into your life.
Increased Self Esteem – another step up the ladder with this added new tool in your personal growth and development automatically increases your Self Esteem.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”
Charles R. Swindoll
A Practical Handbook