You always have two choices, either react instinctually or respond thoughtfully to circumstances and people you interact with.
These two attitudes create two completely different results.
Reaction takes place on a subconscious level.
When you react you are just running on autopilot, you are at the mercy of the automatisms that you have developed throughout your life.
You are not in control of yourself and so you are controlled by events that can overwhelm you.
You don’t take into consideration the implications of instinctual behavior.
On the other hand, response occurs on a conscious level.
You are able to pause between the stimulus and the response and act proactively.
You have control over your automatisms and you can direct your action in the best possible way.
Think just for a moment how many friendships and relationships have been damaged or destroyed forever as a result of being reactive.
Human beings must aim to become more compassionate and empathetic towards other human beings.
Most people react to someone else’s behavior by judging and criticizing them without taking into account what troubles those people might have gone through.
What pain those people had to cope with.
Remember that words have power, you should use them in a wise way.
Never hurt someone else with your words, because of your impulsiveness and your reactions.
Words can leave scars that will never heal!
Words have the power to destroy people, or uplift them and give them hope.
When you are about to react, hold yourself back, wait and think about a time when you reacted and how damn bad you felt.
Wouldn’t it have been better to wait and not react?
The process of not reacting is like a muscle, it needs training in order to develop.
It takes time and consistency to be able to overcome your inner instinct to react to people and events.
During the process of learning to not react you also develop your awareness.
You become more conscious that you can always look at events that happen in your life from a wider perspective.
You always have the choice to respond instead of reacting.
I am a great believer that every situation we are faced with has a purpose.
It happens in order to provide us with opportunities for learning and growing.
Only by not reacting to events, can you grow and become a better version of yourself.
You can always choose the meaning you assign to a particular event.
So you have the choice to focus on the positive aspects of everything that happens in your life instead of focusing on the negative ones.
You must hold on to a positive way of looking at everything.
By doing so you are most likely to respond thoughtfully to events instead of reacting instinctually to them.
The more conscious you become that you can always choose the bright side of things, the more able to stop reacting to people and circumstances you become.
Only by controlling your mind, can you control your inner world and can you become conscious and choose to respond to events.
Only by doing it over and over again can you break the automatism of reacting to people and events.
If you are anything like me, during the day you are faced with endless chances where reaction is the most likely way to cope with events and people.
Look at them as a boot camp, as opportunities to wake yourself up, to become aware of your behavior, to learn to wait without reacting.
Every time you curb the urge to react you strengthen your self-control and willpower.
When you are in full control of yourself you are able to control the events in your life and find harmony.
You are no longer a victim of life, you become the creator of it!
Not reacting allows you to develop the capacity to expand your perception and access to your limitless power so that you can live life to the fullest.
HOW CAN YOU TRAIN YOURSELF TO STOP REACTING?
The following practice is something simple, but at the same time really effective.
I have been applying it for a long time now and, thanks to this form of meditation, I have developed my self-control and capability to step back every time I am about to react.
I have developed the attitude of being proactive rather than reactive and my general well-being has benefited from it and so have my relationships.
Let’s discover this practice.
When you are about to react, inhale deeply, hold your breath, and mentally repeat to yourself: “I am in charge of my instinct to react, I have power over it, I can control it.”
As you exhale, slowly repeat to yourself: “I choose to be proactive, to be the creator of my life”.
Repeat this practice at least three times especially at the beginning.
Keep doing it till it is ingrained in your subconscious.
Here is a nice tale about responding vs reacting:
2 FRIENDS AND THE BAKER
Once upon a time, two friends went to the bakery to buy some bread.
When they got there, they could spot that the baker was frustrated and angry.
One of the two friends kindly asked for a loaf of bread.
On their way back home, the other friend asked the one who bought the bread:
“Is the baker always in a bad temper?”
“Yes, unfortunately”. Answered the other.
“And are you always so kind to him?”
“Yes, of course!”
Surprised the other friend asked:
“But WHY, if he is always so rude?”
“because I don’t want to allow anyone or anything to decide the way I behave.
I am in control of my behavior.
I am not someone who reacts, I am someone who acts!”
You can be carried away by other people’s behavior and life events, or you can choose to have control over yourself and respond proactively.
“A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction” - Rita Mae Brown