Tag Archives: reacting

Respond…Instead of Feeding Into A Reaction…

Respond, don’t react.  This is something that I have talked to you guys about more than once and in fact I believe it is even a chapter in the new book that came out last November.  When we are in the middle of an argument or faced with a stressful situation or in the midst of an emotionally charged situation we are “in a reaction” meaning that we are upset, without our equilibrium, feeling unsettled, have temporarily lost our bearings etc, etc—just sort of in the center of a shit storm.

This is NOT the time to make decisions!  Any decision made in the middle of a reaction will not be a fortuitous one. In fact it will likely be a regrettable one.  This I know from experience:)

Reacting is automatic, it is never measured or thought out…reacting is yelling, slamming doors, walking out, speaking before you think it through…you guys know what I am talking about, we have all been there, done that.  Nothing good ever comes from allowing yourself to get lost in a reaction.

When you find yourself in this state the biggest favor you can do yourself is to STOP talking, take a breath, leave the room, walk away for a moment…whatever it takes to give yourself a chance to hit the ‘reset’ button.  Once you have composed yourself and calmed down, you can think about how you want to RESPOND.

Responding takes a conscious effort, it allows for an action appropriate to the situation at hand.  There is an immense amount of power by responding in lieu of reacting.

Reactions bring drama and nobody needs more drama…

Responding means that you have to know when to walk away and take a moment, meaning that you may not get the last word or you may not get to hammer your point home…and you may not get to be ‘right’—responding means acting like a grownup which is always a good thing:)




There are three quotes I’d like to share with you that I have been thinking about today:

 “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.  Love is a battle.  Love is a war.  Love is a growing up.”

James Baldwin

 “Love is an ENDLESS act of forgiveness.”

-Peter Ustinov

 “All things that exist in truth exist forever.”

-Marianne Williamson

Most people don’t understand that in all their relationships they are the decisive element.  We decide whether or not to be offended, to be loving, to be kind, to be vindictive, to be generous, to be forgiving…other people do what they do and we decide how to react to that.  The mainstream seems to teach us that love feels good and that it makes you sappy and happy all the time and if you are unhappy then you must be in a bad situation be it romantic or otherwise…and so we have created a culture of folks that walk away from jobs and friends and relationships when they stop feeling “happy”…

 What if real love was REAL WORK?  What if loving your job, your kids, your friends, your relationships, your house, your pets, your country, your neighbors meant working to recreate that happy, sappy feeling day after day?  If we thought or understood that loving is really an endless act of forgiving and giving then wouldn’t we change the way we think about it?  Consider that the real purpose of us all being here together is for soul growth and not for personal gratification or indulgence of the senses…consider that perhaps it is your job to use your relationships with people to further humanity as a whole instead of just using them to see what you can get for yourself…

 Imagine a culture in which people put other people before themselves as a practice instead of just once and awhile to prove that they are not small selfish clods of ailments and grievances.

 So many people that I know spend SO MUCH time worrying about who they can be with and what they can get out of it…people always seem so amazed at the way that I take care of the people around me, they think me so generous…the truth is that I was taught early on that it isn’t about me…it is about what I can do for whoever is around me…it is about serving humanity to make things better for everyone…if we all lived like that what a different place this would be.

 I wish that people would think prior to just reacting…I have a good friend that is recently divorced and every time his ex-wife pushes a button he reacts…he isn’t about serving her, he is about what a XXXXX  she is being…I have a news flash…she will never change…he will have to change.   Those people in your life that you believe deserve whatever it is that you are serving up to them…they are not really the ones being harmed by your behavior—you are.   Your angst, your anger, your hatred, your unkind words…all those things you feel are valid…all of that just comes back to create chaos in your own life…negativity breeds negativity—universal law—always true…

 I realize that we are not all going to start running around being nice to everyone and handing out flowers in orange robes…and I have my moments where I express my own disgust for people, places and things, however I catch myself and I know better and I keep trying to do better…that is all I am suggesting, that we think, that we look to see how we can forward the action of things instead of killing them with our negative actions and words…

 The first step to changing any behavior is to first recognize it—you can’t hope to shift something that you can’t even bring to consciousness…

Respond, don’t react…

I have been thinking lately about the things that shape us, the events in our lives that mold our behaviors and responses toward the past, present and the future.  My mother says that when we reconstruct the way we hold the past then we bring alive the possibility for a new future.  New futures are a good thing they allow us to be free from the same old song and they change us…change is good, it is enlivening.

When you look back on the particular string of events that makes up your life, do you see certain things that caused a crack in you along the way?  Once you locate the ‘cracks’ you sort of see how everything else was colored by them in a certain sense…the first heartbreak colored every relationship after that, the first death of someone you loved, the first job experience etc, etc.

All those cracks weaved in and out of everything caused a shift in behaviors and responses, so that one day you look down the road you have traveled and you can see what caused you to have the walls and defense mechanisms that now make-up who you are.

The good news is when you see it you can change it.  You can start to become clear about when you are reacting to something based on the past instead of responding to it based on the present.  Reacting and responding are two very, very different things.  Reactions can cause more cracks in a human being and responses come from a place of power.

Be awake in this New Year and start to learn when you are reacting and being at effect of something instead of responding and being at cause.  Cracks can be filled and foundations made strong again, you have the power to create the life you want in every moment.