Respond Rather Than React

Whether in an emergency situation or just daily interactions with others learning how to respond, rather than react, can make a huge difference in the outcome of any situation.

What’s The Difference Between Reaction And Response

Reaction is an emotional subconscious decision that is made without consideration for the consequences usually in haste. Commonly referred to as a “knee-jerk reaction.”

Response is the conscious effort to take a step back, breathe, and review the situation, become aware of the present and attempt to figure out the probable cause, and consider the available solutions.

Understanding the difference in reactions vs responses is key to learning how to change old habits and form new habits of responding thoughtfully to situations and avoiding hasty reactions that can result in negative outcomes.

Reacting is a gut response that is often based on fear and insecurities, and many times it’s not the most rational or appropriate way to act.

Much of our lives are spent in reaction to others and the events around us. The problem is that might not always be the best course of action and as a result, they can make other unhappy, and make things worse for us, and make the situation worse.

The truth is, it’s not the most rational way to act. Responding on the other hand, is taking the situation in, and deciding the best course of action based on values such as reason, compassion, and cooperation.

The choice of reacting or responding presents itself to us all the time, whether it’s our mother nagging her child, our co-worker being rude or our spouse not being kind enough., There will always be external events that bother us, but if we learn to respond and not just react , we can make things better and not worse.

Learning To Respond

The main thing to learn Is mindfulness and the pause.

Mindfulness means watching ourselves when song happens that might normally upset us or trigger some kind of emotional reaction. Pay close attention to how your mind reacts.

Then pause. We don’t have to act immediately, just because we have an internal reaction. We can pause, not act, and breathe. We can watch the urge to act irrationally arise, then let it go away. Sometimes that takes a few seconds, other times it means we should remove ourselves politely from the situation and let ourselves cool down before we respond.

Pause and watch the reaction go away.

Consider what the most intelligent, compassionate response might be. What can we do that will help our relationship, teach, build a better team or partnership, make the situation better, calm everyone down, including ourselves.

At first this can be hard. But in time you’ll learn to watch the reaction get better at the pause. Don’t be upset if you mess up- just resolve to be more mindful the next time. Take note of what happened to trigger your reaction, and pay attention when something like that happens again.

Be mindful, pause, then consider a thoughtful, compassionate response.

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