Today, I'm grateful for practicing to respond more and react less.
Some people use reactions and response synonymously but to me there’s a world of difference based on my personal experiences.
A reaction is instant. It’s driven by the beliefs, biases, and prejudices of the unconscious mind. When you say or do something “without thinking,” that’s the unconscious mind running the show. A reaction is based in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level a defense mechanism. It might turn out okay but often a reaction is something you regret later.
A response on the other hand usually comes more slowly. It’s based on information from both the conscious mind and unconscious mind. A response will be more “ecological,” meaning that it takes into consideration the well-being of not only you but those around you. It weighs the long term effects and stays in line with your core values.
A reaction and a response may look exactly alike. But they feel different.
For instance reaction is like an untrained dog a.k.a G-Money, where he barks at every dog he sees and jumps at every passing neighbor. Auto-pilot and instincts kicks in. Whereas response is like a trained dog - hope to get there soon with G-Money, where he is well-trained and well-behaved. He comes when you call him, barks only when there’s a reason to bark. He processes the situation before he reacts rather go into auto-pilot.
The point is that the more reacting we do, the less empowered we are. We’re operating from underlying assumptions and beliefs we’re not even aware of.
Our unconscious mind creates a whole library of beliefs, prejudices, biases, fears, and limiting decisions. Its main goal is your survival. So anything that might threaten survival becomes Public Enemy #1 to the unconscious. If your conscious goals are in conflict with your unconscious mind’s sense of survival, the unconscious will derail any efforts you try to make toward those goals.
I haven't master responding and not reacting but I am practicing it daily. Of course, this is easier said then done. But like everything worthwhile, it takes a little practice. And some situations might be easier to respond to than others. But I am not giving up.
As a result of the abuse I endured as a young child I operated most of my life in reaction mode...It became my survival and on some level my defense mechanisms. As I continue to work through my healing process I able to do my 4 Ps - Pause. Process. Plan. Proceed. rather than go into auto-pilot, with 2 Ps Panic and Proceed.
When the doctor gives us a treatment of some kind and it goes BAD, they say, “she’s reacting poorly to the treatment.” But when the doctor gives us treatment and it goes well, they say, “she’s responding really well to the treatment.” I use this to remind me that reacting is bad and responding is better.
There is no empowerment in reacting only when you respond are you empowered. What seems to happen is that the more you practice responding instead of reacting not only do you start making better decisions but you also start to experience a part of yourself that is not so susceptible to change, at least not in the way you usual experience it. It’s the part of you that pauses, processes, plans, and proceeds. The part of you that is akin to the canvas upon which the content of your life is painted. You start to feel that you have control over your life and not being controlled.
Let me be totally transparent and clear: This is not easy and it takes practice. It’s impossible to be unreactive 100% of the time (at least I have not yet figured out how to do this.) If you have, please share it with me.
The goal is to decrease the amount of time I'm reactive, and recover my centeredness more quickly. I must realize that I WILL go into auto-pilot when triggered. The faster I can recognize my triggers, the more empower I will be to Pause. Process. Plan. Proceed
As with anything in life, it takes practice. Learning to respond vs. react is a continual process that gets easier over time.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. And in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Author Unknown.
Stop allowing others to control you by reacting and start controlling yourself by responding.
Your growth, Your Freedom, Your Empowerment is in the pause (response) and not the stimuli (reaction).