Responding Verses Reacting

During our daily life we engage with all types of different people, situations arise, and some of those situations can feel like someone has literally thrown a hardball at us. We can be going along just fine during our day and then wham, we are put right in the middle of something we wouldn't normally want to be put in, - especially if we had the choice.

A perfect scenario is people issues at work. Another scenario is relationship issues with family members. The list could go on, and on, of what we can be put into the middle of and we didn't ask for it.

So, what do we do? Before I learned this important life lesson I would say for the most part, I've experienced what I call a reaction. My reaction to something unpleasant, or when I've felt attacked in some way, - has been quick, a movement of sorts in my emotions, - so, without thinking I've reacted. Feelings have a huge part in this. Meaning, if I've felt attacked, I felt the reaction bubble up in me, in a defense manner. If our feelings are hurt or our person has been attacked in anyway, we normally can react back in a negative way, also.

The funny thing about most reactions is that they have a negative feeling or emotion attached to them. Have you ever been there? It is not a good place to be, because no matter how wrong the person is or how bad the situation is, when we react in a manner that we would rather not, bam, we have to deal with our negative feelings on how we reacted, on top of everything else the situation brought into our life. Not fun. So, let's try to avoid the reactions and let's try to respond instead.

So, what's a response, instead of a reaction? In my experience, a reaction is quick, without a lot of thought or good timing. Most of the time when we react to something, we are taken off guard, shocked, or put in a very uncomfortable situation quickly. Responding is when we slow down in each situation, no matter how quickly we were taken off guard, and think our response through. Slowing down is the best plan of action to get a better response without a negative reaction. To respond could be summed up to not letting yourself be quickly drawn in, slow down and access the situation, confirm what is happening, communicate to find out what they are truly saying/needing, and then think on what your response can be that will keep you true to yourself.

Responding is thought out, on purpose, and with purpose. Slow to speak, but quick in wisdom.

Reacting is spinning out of control, losing your focus and lost on your purpose.

It's something to think about. Taking the time to respond, can save a lot of time later trying to feel better about a bad reaction. I hope this helps someone, it has sure helped me!

Enjoy your day,


My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

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