Flower

The Crucial Difference Between Reacting Versus Responding To Circumstances

What’s the difference between a reaction and a response?

A reaction is immediate, automatic and often the wrong things to say/do at the time.

A response is a patient, non-reactive and often kind assessment of a situation.

While reactions lead to arguments and fights, responses diffuse tense moments and provide opportunities for the resolution of a conflict.

No matter what happens to you, your response to a situation is always your choice. 

Build your awareness.

Practice Responding To Situations

If both attributes were personified, a reaction would take the form or a doer. A response would take the form of being. The former is focused on fixing problems and finding solutions. The latter is more concerned with understanding and changing internal states.

Which attitude is better in the short-term?

A reaction tends to result in more fights and arguments. Someone says something to you and you react with a defensive attitude or worse, attack their character instead. A resolution may follow when the anger has subsided but often the damage is done before tempers are controlled. Harsh words and sometimes physical abuse are the tools that support a reactive state of mind.

In comparison, a responsive state of mind is present (and aware) in the situation and is able to figure out what the real problem is. When someone is attacking you verbally, the problem is usually not what they are blurting out in their angry state. The real issue is much deeper and it requires calm and patient inquiry. Open-ended and non-reactive questions are the best defense to a verbal attack. A response requires ignoring the ego and seeking a solution that tends to improve communication.

The result of engaging in responding to situations and people is deeper relationships and less time/effort wasted in reactive conflict.

Sheevaun Moran is a business advisor, master coach, quantum energy thought leader and the founder of Energetic Solutions. She uses business principles with energetic techniques to help more than 25,000 entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders bring instant focus and shifts to clarity, purpose, and profits.

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