React or Respond?

July 18, 2010

So many times, when something struck me emotionally, I allowed myself to react based on that emotion. That reaction frequently led me in directions that I had no intention of going. The impulse of the moment had a result that I never anticipated. Whether for good or bad, I was not prepared…

Preparation, I have discovered, is essential. Preparation makes it possible for one to respond, to speak or act with intention, instead of reacting. While it is not possible to plan for every contingency, it is possible for one’s mind to be prepared to respond appropriately, even in unexpected situations. It prevents a reaction that takes one in a direction that is not in harmony with one’s values, ideals or desires.

What kind of preparation is this? For me, it is immersion in self-improvement. Personal development (or self-improvement) materials help each of us find our purpose, our “Why”, and the steps we need to take to achieve that purpose. Immersion allows us to replace the negative self-talk, the depressing media chatter, with positive, uplifting information. It helps us reshape our views of ourselves and our world, and gives us the strength of mind to think instead of react to upsetting situations, hurtful words, or poisonous people. “You must immerse yourself in as much self-development information as possible in order to build a rock solid belief structure.” – -John DiLemme

Self-improvement is helping me to acquire the confidence I need to help me take a moment to stop and think. This prevents a knee-jerk reaction that results in my saying something I didn’t mean, engaging in a pointless exercise, or committing to an action I either don’t want or am not equipped to take.

Immersion is defined as “to be submerged”, or “to engage wholly or deeply”. Books, CD’s and DVD’s allow us to choose alternatives to offensive music, depressing news, or shallow, demeaning movies. Between these materials, and finding groups of like-minded people who share the values and are going the same direction, we can create the atmosphere we need to keep us focused on achieving our goals, and provide support for when we feel ourselves getting discouraged or falling short. Self-improvement gives us the tools we need to be prepared to take that pause and think when confronted with an unexpected situation, so that we can respond appropriately. “Preparation may not guarantee a win, but it sure puts you in position for one.” – -John Maxwell

It’s important to remember that this is a process, and takes time. I still find myself reacting more often than I would like, and still find myself going the wrong way because of that knee-jerk reaction. The difference is that, now, it takes me less time to find my way back to the direction I want to go, towards my ultimate purpose. It helps me to spend less time being frustrated and unhappy in situations I did not intend to happen. “If we are not moving toward our God-given destiny, tension and dissatisfaction will always exist in our innter being.” – -Joel Osteen

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2 Responses to “React or Respond?”

  1. Lynne Keane said

    This morning I found myself in a position to react to button pushing but somehow stepped back and did not give fuel to the fire. Positive fuel to my self esteem and worthiness helped me to not repsond to a comment. Eleanor Rosevelt has a great quote about others not being able to make us feel inferior without our permission. It’s up to each of us!

    Thanks for that reinforcement, Lauren!

  2. Lauren said

    I am so glad you liked this one, Lynne! It has been on my mind for a while… I will look for that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt-she is one of my favorites. Have a great evening. Lauren

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