Respond Not React
Today I heard someone say that we should respond to things not react. This may seem like the same thing, but I believe I understand what the difference is.
I have known for some time that when I say things out of emotion I later regret what I said. This provides a lot of material for my worries (I wonder how that person will react when they hear what I said?). I admonish myself not to say things out of emotion, but emotion always comes, and it seems like it cannot be controlled.
However, If tell myself to formulate a response rather than a reaction this process comes to mind:
1) Should I say anything at all? – When I react because of emotion (we just found out we have to work this weekend!) the reaction is bound to be negative. If I open my mouth to formulate a response, I sometimes realize that there is nothing constructive for me to say. Most emotional reactions are just “diarrhea of the mouth”, useless words spewed out into the world by me to no benefit to anyone including myself.
2) What do I hope to gain by my response? – Again, this stops most responses because, since I should accept all situations and never expect anything, why am I bothering to respond at all? So, unless I am going to say “I refuse to work this weekend”, I should probably not say anything at all. Note, that I have to accept the consequences of my “response” not to work, but I am free to have that response.
The Difference Between Response and Reaction is EGO
“My EGO is not my Amigo” is a phrase I have heard often. I feel that the difference between a reaction and a response is EGO. If I say that I don’t want to work this weekend as a reaction, it is usually because I fell it is unfair to ask me to change my plans, whatever they are. People should have more respect for my time! This is where my EGO comes into play.
If however, I respond that I feel I need to visit a dying loved one, and that I am prepared to accept the consequences of my decision and not work this weekend, I am simply giving a response, I need to inform them that I will not be at work.
Can I have Acceptance of the Consequences of this Response?
I think this is the test as to if I am responding to something or reacting to something; if I feel “I must say or do this thing” but I also am in fear of the consequences, then this is really a reaction.
If I consider the consequences and say “I am willing to accept the probable consequence and any unexpected consequence” then this is probably a response.