Reacting v Responding: How to hold on to your power

Reacting v Responding: How to hold on to your power

Posted by Jan Lawrence

Most of the time we are in reaction mode to whatever other people are doing – we say ‘so and so makes me angry, sad’ etc. When we are reacting then we have given our power to the other person.

Ultimately we have absolutely no control over what anyone else does, but we do have choice over how we respond to what someone else does. If we get angry, sad, or upset this is our choice [other people could choose differently in the same circumstance]. When we become aware of these habits and recognise that these reactions aren’t good for us then we can choose an alternative response.

  • instead of getting irritated we choose to see the funny side
  • instead of getting angry we choose to remain calm yet assert our needs
  • instead of feeling down if someone criticises us we choose to spend 5mins thinking about our inner strengths or what we are grateful for

When we respond rather than react the power remains with us. This is something we need to practice so it becomes more of a habit. It isn’t a way of repressing our emotions [all feelings need a voice] or for self-criticism if we ‘fail’ to practice it. But when practiced it can be a very useful approach for ourselves and ultimately improving our relationships.