When we respond, and react

I am sure we have all found ourselves in this situation many times before, but how many of us simply react to something someone says, instead of stepping back to think about what our reaction should be?

Most of the time, reacting to someone’s comment can get us into trouble. We have the ability to think about our thoughts and to take action on those thoughts, but we must always work through the calculated risk of what will happen if we say something, without working through the thought behind it.

Thoughts are fleeting, but a reaction will stay not only with us; but will also stay with the person we react to. A reaction is usually a consequence of something we say to someone whom we feel is either speaking out of turn, saying something that is offensive or making a comment without justification.

When we stop reacting, we take back control of our thoughts in a calm and calculated manner, so that we bring about the best solution for us. We begin to place importance on our thoughts and our integrity; rather than importance on the person making the criticism or remark.

This is never easy to do, but it usually happens around the same kind of people we’re in contact with, time and again. Others who live their lives with so much negativity; often impart some of that negativity on us just by saying something that we know we will end up reacting to.

Sometimes the most important point is that it doesn’t matter what the other person thinks, that’s inconsequential to what we really think or know to be true.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to act on our instant reactions. Usually when we stand back and think things through we achieve a better outcome, although it’s not something we consciously think about.

Our gut response is always to react back.


4 May, 2011

8 thoughts on “When we respond, and react

  1. Good post. I’m learning more and more to stand back and ‘look before I leap’.

    Sometimes the cheeky devil sitting on my shoulder gets the upper hand, but I have an angel on the other shoulder doing battle. I think the angel is winning.

  2. Living with an older parent you have to do this and watch the tone of your voice when you speak. I have been called on my tone when I speak to my father in anger.

    He does not like it and will not permit me to do this.

    1. I understand your point Randy, but I also think it has to work the other way too.

      Not all older adults watch the way they speak to their children, so a child’s reaction can be a consequence of that.

      I think it’s a learning curve for both adults and children alike, to learn to communicate and respond to each other; so that they get the best out of the relationship.

  3. We should slow down, wait and think and not act on our instant reactions.

    I should follow that advice. I have always reacted first, then in hind sight regretted my response.

    It has gotten me into trouble more times than I can remember, still does.

    1. I completely understand, but given what we deal with sometimes (and I did this too as a child) a lot of how we handle ourselves is because we are angry. May be some of what you had to deal with growing up was part of the same scenario as mine.

      I know I would have been able to stand back more if my family had have given me the right support. Perhaps there’s some truth in there for you too. We respond through anger.

      Thank you for posting.

  4. I agree with you. I end up letting people run over me and don’t say anything at all. Then what they say, eats at me.

    I guess I’m just chicken when it comes to confrontation.

    1. I never used to say anything either, because I was subconsciously looking for acceptance and wanted to please those around me, but I learned over the years, it doesn’t work to be like that.

      As you correctly say Lisa, people begin to ‘run over you.’ Perhaps it’s time to think about how you can change.

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