Responding Trumps Emotionally Reacting

Responding Trumps Emotionally Reacting

Last week I posted about my healing journey over on Instagram and it's sparked a lot of conversations. It's been a wild ride over the past five years. Life has honestly been a rollercoaster, I've hit rock bottom (my event business failing thanks to covid), I've struggled with my mental health which spurred me on to learn more and become a CBT, I've moved to the other side of the world to a dreamy location which has expanded my heart. 

Yes, life put me through the wringer. Would I change anything? Absolutely not!

 What I have gained is the ability to see the world through a different lens. As I've studied further and delved deeper into my own learning. I've come to realise that more and more people suffer from the need to please, it seems to be a common theme running through all of us. It's where we question everything, doubting ourselves while seeking out approval in order to be validated before we can move forward.

Little did I know that self-esteem is a precious commodity that needs to be nurtured. For those of us who feel a little sensitive, a bit guarded or even defensive when we are in other's company. We have a lot of healing to do. My 20 year old self loved to blame everyone else for my problems. My 30 year old self has realised I am the one that has control over my life. And here, on the cusp of turning 40 this year, let me tell you, there is absolutely no shame in choosing yourself. Trusting your gut, wading through the unknown, sitting with discomfort and moving through all the emotions. Your journey is your own personal challenge and how you step up to it is completely your own. 

My greatest learning has been to respond instead of react. 

What used to happen was when something upset me, frustrated me, or just ground me the wrong way, I would either shutdown and pretend it didn't happen or I would get angry and hiss words out of my mouth. My emotions led the way, the whole way! so if I felt the discomfort rise from within. Oh boy, I would cut loose if you pissed me off enough. Now to get me to that point took a whole heap. 

Because what would happen is that I would at first bite my tongue. Yep, a serial people pleaser on the loose who didn't speak up. like ever! I would just let shit slide until one day, I couldn't take it anymore.

Does anyone else know that one?

Now this might take weeks, days or even years. Then one day the penny drops and I would lash out at the smallest and most insignificant thing. Now, this is not to say I've not played with my emotions a whole heap, I would throw them around. Because I didn't understand them. I didn't know how they worked, Or what to do with them when those uncomfortable ones came through. I would just try and shut that shit down as quickly as possible. 

What I had to do was learn how to disrupt my autopilot patterns the ones that I established to keep me safe. This was the golden ticket. Because what was happening when I reacted was completely unconscious. It was just that - a reaction to the situation. These reactionsn were created by myself at some point in my life. They were not always what I wanted to do. 

Here are a few examples of reacting instead of responding:

  1. Someone cuts you off in traffic, and you start shouting obscenities and making rude gestures.

  2. Your boss criticizes your work in front of your colleagues, and you snap back with defensive and angry comments.

  3. Your partner forgets to buy milk from the grocery store, and you storm off in a huff, slamming doors and making a big scene.

  4. Interrupting someone during a conversation without listening to what they are saying and immediately responding with your own thoughts and opinions.
  5. Responding to a message or email without fully understanding the context or taking the time to read it thoroughly. This can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications.



Why settle for mere reactions, when we have the power to respond with intention and purpose? By responding, we give ourselves the gift of perspective - the ability to see the bigger picture, to consider all angles, and to choose the best course of action for ourselves.

Yes, our emotions are powerful, but they can also be unpredictable and overwhelming. Reacting to a trigger may feel instinctual, but it's often an unconscious behavior that leaves us with regret and missed opportunities.

Instead, let's harness the power of our emotions to propel us towards the outcomes we desire. Let's pause, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves: What do we want the outcome to be? By responding with intention, we take control of the situation and steer ourselves towards success.

So why settle for reacting when we can respond with purpose? Let's tap into our inner strength and use it to create the outcomes we truly desire.


How can we Respond with Purpose

Responding involves taking a mindful and intentional approach to our actions and decisions. Here are some steps to help you respond with purpose:

  1. Pause and reflect: Take a moment to step back and reflect on the situation before reacting. This will help you gain perspective and clarity.

  2. Identify your emotions: Acknowledge your emotions and the feelings that are arising within you. By recognising and labelling your emotions, you can gain better control over them.

  3. Consider the outcomes: Think about what you want to achieve in this situation. What is the best outcome for you and for others involved? Consider the short-term and long-term consequences of your actions.

  4. Choose your response: Based on your reflection, emotions, and desired outcomes, choose a response that aligns with your values and goals. Be intentional in your words and actions.

  5. Take action: Follow through with your response and take action towards achieving the desired outcome. Remember that responding with purpose is an ongoing practice that requires conscious effort and awareness.

Through responding we can cultivate more meaningful relationships, make better decisions, and achieve more with greater ease and effectiveness.



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