Our reactions to life’s stressful or challenging situations are our first line of an instinctive psychological defence. Our Reactions can so often become a habitual way of coping, to reinforce and strengthen our unhealthy habits that only bring on suffering to us and others.
How often have you caught yourself reacting to someone else’s behaviour as you get caught up in the negative feelings and emotions associated with it. Often the reactions will come forth from the judgments of another because you are not happy and want the situation to change or be the way you want it to be. You then have a feeling of defensiveness, that makes you to be right and they to be wrong.
For instance you maybe be driving to an appointment somewhere and are running tight for time and you get caught behind a slow driver and start to get annoyed at the driver, and may start calling them names and all sorts of things in your mind or even shout at them to get a move on. Some people get so angry and out of control it can even get violent to a point of out of control Road Rage.
Have you ever let your reactions to an incident spoil your whole day, a weekend, a week or even longer? Have you carried around the baggage of your reactions for so long it has actually affected your life, health and wellbeing? Are you a naturally reactive person, feeling hard done by when things don’t go your way so you feel like a victim to life’s circumstances?
Well the good news is that you can change. Instead of reacting you can chose to respond to any situation as it arises. Responding means you are in control of your emotions, thoughts and deeds so that whatever happens, you can handle it better.
Ways on How to Respond instead of Reacting
1. Make Space: create a gap between you and the stimulus, either in time, distance or by taking some deep breaths. It does not have to be long, it just gives you enough time, to cool down, evaluate to put things into perspective and think about how you are going to respond.
2. Compassion: put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and ask yourself how you would feel if you were them.
3. Realize that what has happened has already happened, and you cannot change that fact. All you can do is move forward from this point.
4. Don’t take anything personally ever again; by being this way frees you up and you don’t have be a mirror to reflect it back.
5. Decide what your next steps or words will be in a situation; check the tone of your voice when you do speak. It’s usually not what you say but how you say it. Making the space before you say anything helps with this.
6. See if there is anything you need to do differently to avoid it in the future, or is there something you need to learn about from this experience?
7. Play it forward in your mind and ask yourself,” in a year’s time from now will it be important?” Very likely not.
8. Let go of worrying about what others may think of you, it’s nobody’s business but theirs. The opinion of others is in their world view and you have your world view and the difference is perfectly ok and makes everyone unique and the world a lot more interesting.
9. Let it go quickly to make space for Divinity to come in – “Let Go and Let God”