Don’t React, Respond!

I did some journey work yesterday and found as part of it that the message was to work on responding to the world around me rather than reacting to it.  So today, I wanted to share with you the difference between the two – both to clarify for my own mind and to share my process with you.  I hope you get something from it.  Blessings!

Reacting
When we react, we are coming out of our old patterns and often from a fear-based or lack-based version of reality.  Reactions, by definition, are without thought.  They are what we do by rote or how we react when we feel threatened.  These are often panicked actions, taken with little forethought that may or may not necessarily get us what we want.  If you find yourself running to stand still a lot, you may want to look at whether you are responding or reacting to the situations at hand.

Responding
On the other hand, responding is choosing how you will behave with conscious thought and having taken at least a few moments to consider what is happening rather than taking it at face value.  There is a lot going on in our world today that is cause for taking a few moments to consider the premise of the situation before you choose your response.  Much of the media is based on this fear-mongering approach that is designed to keep us in our reactive selves so that we don’t think too much about what is happening to us.   This is what happened when the Patriot Act was passed after 9/11.  Our legislators took advantage of our fear-based mentality to get us to give up some key freedoms which, had we taken a moment to consider them and gotten out of fear before making a decision, we would have seen as being an extraordinarily bad idea.

The Trap of Fear and Lack
This sort of thinking is really running rampant in the world today.  I have been caught up in it as much as anyone and it has been a constant struggle to release the cycling thoughts and get back to center.   The energetic is so prevalent, that it’s easy to entrain with it if we are not careful.  Fears about what “could” happen, feelings that there is only so much to go around or we can only get what we need from this person or that we are not enough – these are all fear-based and lack-based thoughts.

Getting Out of Fear and Lack
The key to getting out of these energies is to consciously disengage.  Take a breath.  Ask yourself if it is true.  Doing Byron Katie’s “The Work” on the process is extremely helpful in these scenarios as well.  Come back into yourself.  When you enegage in fear, you often leave your body energetically.  Open your heart and see the world with compassion rather than fear.  Know that there are some people who try to manipulate and control others through fear and you don’t have to engage.   Worry is a useless waste of energy as well.  Something will either happen or it won’t.  If it does, you’ll deal with it.  If it doesn’t then it wasn’t relevant.  Worrying doesn’t solve anything.

Today’s Task
Breathe.   Open.  Relax.  Before you react to something, count to ten.  Take that time to consider the following questions:

  • Is the problem being presented to me a valid one?  Or is it just so much drama?  (See The 15 Minute Rule for dealing with drama)
  • If it is valid, is it my problem to deal with it?  Or should it be someone else’s issue?
  • If it is my problem, then what are ALL of my options for solutions?  Including doing nothing!
  • Who can help me with my problem?
  • What resources are at my disposal to handle the situation?
  • If I don’t like the solutions offered, what is an out-of-the-box way to deal with it?  Who else could benefit from it being solved? Might they provide a better option for me?
  • Once the decision is made, implement it and move on to dealing with the consequences rather than dreading them.
  • Be compassionate – with everyone involved and with yourself.

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