Far too often when a situation arises, the first thing we do is react. It’s unfortunately what many of us have been programmed to do. When someone says something to us that’s displeasing, our first reaction is to combat that. If someone performs an action towards us which we don’t like, we act back.
The problem with this reactive behavior is that it not only may be an overreaction, but it can also make others unhappy which makes the situation worse. It’s a snowball effect. Part of the reprogramming we need to take is to respond, not react. By responding we take in the situation and determine a strategic course of action based on the situation.
What React vs. Respond Looks Like
Reacting vs. responding may seem similar in principle, however, they are the complete opposite of each other.
In a reactionary scenario, someone in your house breaks a lamp. Your first reaction is to become filled with anger and burst. You yell at the first person you see and accuse them of breaking the lamp. You upset the person on the receiving end of your anger and others in the home who see this action become tense and fearful of you. This is not a situation you want to put yourself in.
When the same scenario arises, before you have a chance to actually get angry, you feel yourself getting angry. You feel it bubbling inside of you and before you let it come up, you stop. You take a moment to breathe and digest the situation. You take note to see if anyone is hurt. You then realize that the lamp that was broken was a lamp purchased for cheap at a yard sale. It’s next to worthless. You have a conversation with the person who broke the lamp and both parties come to the understanding that it was a mistake. No further action is needed other than cleaning up the mess. No harm, no foul.
Remember, it’s about how you respond, not how you react.
Learn to Respond
We all have the capability to respond, it’s just a matter of if we choose to respond or react. It’s easier to react. It’s harder to respond. Reprogramming yourself to be responsive, not reactive, is all about being mindful. It’s about understanding ourselves and coming in tune with our emotions and behavior. We need to be mindful of how our mind reacts to different situations.
One of the most important methods to responding is knowing and understanding you don’t have to be quick. There will never be anyone standing there with a timer telling you that you have a limited number of seconds to respond to the situation. You have time to breathe. You have time to gather information. You have time to be in the moment and soak it all in.
At first, this might seem like a super simple technique and you don’t need to practice it. But you do! What’s the first that happens when you drive your car and someone cuts you off? You get angry. They could’ve seriously injured you or yourself. How dare they?! But, what if that person had a child who unbuckled their seatbelt and tried climbing into the passenger seat. The driver of that vehicle wouldn’t be happy either.
Choosing to respond to situations differently will do wonders for you and your friends and family.
At Theta, we can help you reprogram your mindset so you can become a responder, not a reactor. We utilize GMS (Guided Meditation and Suggestion) therapy to change your thinking so you can kick bad habits and become a more relaxed, understanding individual today.