When another person does or posts something we don’t agree with, it is very easy to “react” versus “respond.” You may be thinking to yourself “is there a difference?” Oddly enough there is a big one. We are constantly interacting and impacting others and this subtle choice in communication style between responding versus reacting leads to a lot less heartbreak and conflict.
1. Reactions are quick and considered rash decisions. Oftentimes something we regret later. With a response there is a time lapse; which can even be short one, but more thought is given to the outcome.
2. Reactions are typically ego driven generally with only “self” in mind. It’s natural for us to think about ourselves first and not the other party involved. Responses have a better chance of being inclusive with everyone in mind.
3. Reactions are more often damaging, can widen a communication gap and can lead to long term hostility. Giving thought will lead to a more grounded and peaceful outcome. Responding does not mean backing down on what you believe in, it just gives a little time where we can try to understand another position.
4. Reactions often lead to a continuation of a disagreement whereas responses are often more resolute. People or even countries reacting back and forth will continue on and on because the other party involved is not considered.
Reactions are still valid and necessary if the event is dyer and posing an imminent threat. By all means, let that instinct kick in! But if it is something that does not need to be addressed immediately usually sleeping on it before you respond or responding after you have exercised and allowed oxygen your brain is the better choice. If you dig deep and be honest with yourself, there is a high probability you will see your “response” will be different than your “reaction.”
Here’s a quick example. A few weeks ago I was messaged by a friend about something they purchased from me and they decided they wanted to return it. Immediately I reacted about how it was a great price and I reminded the person of other things I had done for them in the past. They immediately reacted about all the extra things they had done for me. It went on and on and was very ego driven. The next day I re-read the person’s original message and thought about the situation. Naturally, after some time I was able to see their position and realized I had wasted a lot of energy on something that could have been avoided if I took the time to “respond” to the original message versus “react.” Silly me!
Have you caught yourself reacting instead of responding?
About Charles Perry
Charles is a bit of a renaissance man, a citizen of the planet, a building inspector by trade, devoted father & husband and one of the funniest people he knows. He is deeply passionate about peace, social justice and respect and equality for all living creatures. Charles thought up the World Minded ideology several years ago and has made it his goal to inspire people around the world to care for themselves, others and the planet we share by exposing what’s right in the world. He resides in the Eastern Sierras and loves life in the mountains, but longs for the beach because of some ridiculous “grass is always greener” notion.