React or Respond; It’s Our Choice

We have all had those “0 to 60” reactions. Something gets triggered in us, our temper flares and our reaction is immediate. Hopefully, whatever words or actions that came as a result of flying off the handle, will be repairable. Unfortunately, the repair piece is often forgotten, and excuses replace an apology:

“You made me so mad I couldn’t help myself.”

“If you would just co-operate, I wouldn’t yell.”

It is in these moments that we must check ourselves. Yes, we can’t control another person’s behaviour or choices – but we can control ours. And we can begin by asking ourselves “Am I going to react to this, or am I going to respond?”

Reacting is 0 to 60 with little thought to consequence. Responding involves the step of slowing down long enough to make your own choice as to which direction this is going to go. Reacting is full emotion, responding includes a deep breath and some rational thought. Reacting is chaotic, responding is calm. Reacting is incomplete, responding is mature.

And if, in trying, we still make a mistake – we can respond to our reaction with a genuine apology:

“I am sorry that I yelled at you like that. This is not the way I want to behave and I am working on changing it.”

React or respond – it’s our choice. :)

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