What To Do Instead Of Reacting?

Lifestyle Personal Development Success Principles

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just REACT to a situation. You know, when for instance, someone is saying something or something happens around you, and I go 💥💥💥 BOOM 💥💥💥 It doesn’t feel good at all, still, you feel you are treated badly or something bad happened TO you, and it is simply unfair so you react.

Useful Thoughts…

Are orderly and are not subject to the chaos that is going on around you.

And it happened a few days ago! Early in the morning, I spent a couple of hours downtown, fixing my nails (yes, I love being nice to myself), feeling GREAT and ready for some kick-ass work hours… Back home, I didn’t notice anything unusual, and in the afternoon my dog, Maggie, was clearly pointing out that we needed to go for a walk, so we did. The half-hour “around the block” and she was happy and so was I, feeling like the “good mama” understanding her dog’s needs 🤣

Entering the apartment block that I live in, one of my neighbors, who saw me coming in, waited for me in front of her door as I had to walk past her to get to my apartment… Up until then I had never met or spoken with this lady, but I did know someone was living in that apartment. And may I just say – the face and her full body expression – was totally the opposite of friendly! And my first thought was “what the heck did I do now?”. As soon as I had that thought I corrected myself thinking “Nope, I did no wrong, why the heck do I think that?”.

The lady started talking to me in German. Now, I don’t speak German, however, me doing my best to be open-minded, I told myself “I have German friends, I once studied German, I should be able to understand her to figure out what’s going on”. And the more she spoke she was getting more and more upset as her words came out her mouth and I realized my German is more than VERY limited, so I had no clue what she was trying to tell me. And it must have shown on my facial expression… I probably looked like a question mark.

Then she pointed at my dog and made some weird noises, almost howling but more in a screaming way, and it dawned on me what she was trying to tell me. Well, at least partly! You see, Maggie is very attached to me and sometimes she is howling out of anxiety when I leave her at home or outside a shop.

So, as I do not speak German, I replied to the lady in English while smiling, trying to explain the situation, but I quickly realized there was no point in my attempt, as the more I said the lady set her eyes on me in a way I can’t even begin to describe, and the vibration in the hallway was far from positive!

She started talking back at me, with a louder and angrier voice than before. And even if I didn’t understand what she was saying I understood it was nothing good. And the more she kept at it the more I lost control of my thoughts and feelings. Then, after a few more words from the lady, I went BOOM!!! I lost almost all control, and with an angry voice I replied back to her that she could take her opinion elsewhere or explain to me how I can be in two places at the same time to avoid my dog from “crying”… My blood was boiling and I was about to say things totally out of place, however, I managed to shut myself up, turn around in the direction of my apartment, and left the situation behind.

Well, not fully! Inside my own apartment, I wanted to kick somebody’s ass, I wanted to scream out loud, I was pissed off and wanted to swear at that German lady and her small mindset…

And then lightning struck me… DANG! “Who’s got a small mindset now, Eva? You are totally letting this situation control you! Hmmm, interesting, why is that?”

Believe it or not, that thought calmed me in a millisecond! And I thought “this is a classic example of a negative outcome of an event because I reacted instead of responding.”

Subjective Control

Not long ago I read a paragraph in a book called “The Power of Awareness” by Neville Goddard. It was from the chapter “Subjective Control” and it read:

   “YOUR IMAGINATION is able to do all that you ask in proportion to the degree of your attention. All progress, all fulfillment of
   desire depend upon the control and concentration of your attention.

   Attention may be either attracted from without or directed from within.

   Attention is attracted from without when you are consciously occupied with the external impressions of the immediate present.
   The very lines of this page are attracting your attention from without.

   Your attention is directed from within when you deliberately choose what you will be preoccupied with mentally.

   It is obvious that, in the objective world, your attention is not only attracted by, but is constantly directed to external impressions.

   But, your control in the subjective state is almost nonexistent, for in this state, attention is usually the servant and not the
   master – the passenger and not the navigator – of your world.

   There is an enormous difference between attention directed objectively and attention directed subjectively, and the capacity to
   change your future depends on the latter.

   When you are able to control the movements of your attention in the subjective world, you can modify or alter your life as you
   please. But this control cannot be achieved if you allow your attention to be attracted constantly from without.”

Why am I talking about “Subjective control” you may ask…

Well, think about it… Where did my attention go the other day? I was allowing my attention to be attracted from without, or in other words, I let outer circumstances dictate how I was thinking, feeling, and acting. Now, this is something I’ve been working on changing for a long time. I want to be in control of my thoughts, feelings, and actions because I do believe that by being in control, not only will my life become better, but I can also be a better person for those I come in contact with.

I mean, bad feelings are no fun at all, it’s tiring and depressing, and that is the total opposite of how I want my life to be.

E + R = O

There is a simple formula that I learned a few years back, and in my opinion, it is closely related to “Subjective Control”. It was taught to me by Jack Canfield, author of many “Chicken Soup For The Soul” books and “The Success Principles” books. He said that how you RESPOND to any EVENT will determine the OUTCOME you experience. Now, if you don’t like the Outcome the only way to change that is by altering your Response. He continued to say that there are basically only three things you can control and that is your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Many might not agree with this, and they will say “that idiot made me do that”, or “I can’t do that because I don’t have the skills”, or “I don’t have time, everyone wants something from me all the time”. Here is the thing though… Nobody can make you do anything unless you accept it. If you don’t have the skills, you can learn. It is indeed a word called NO, and you can use it to free up time to do the things that are important in life.

It is about taking 100% responsibility for your life and what you want to experience in life. So, let’s go back to my incident with my German neighbor… Instead of me REACTING as I did, I could have RESPONDED with “Ich spreche nicht Deutsch” (I do not speak German) as I know that much German, and I could have just listened to understand and feel gratitude for her letting me know that my dog was “crying” when I was away, and ended the situation with “Danke” (thank you). She would for sure have felt better, and so would I. 

Another thing is… WHY did I react instead of responding? Well, I believe the simple answer to that is I haven’t taken enough responsibility to train my dog to be comfortable and relaxed in any situation, whether I’m present or not. So, I actually feel a bit embarrassed when Maggie is “acting out”. Now, these feelings don’t serve me either – I know that – still I haven’t yet committed to helping my dog overcome her anxiety of being alone.

Final thoughts

You may be wondering why I’m sharing all this. And here is the reason…

I have made a promise to myself that I’m to take full responsibility for myself and my life, and that includes being honest with myself. And also ask why I think in certain ways, why I feel how I feel due to those thoughts, and more importantly why they become the actions I take.

You see, if I’m to improve anything I need to learn more about myself, I need to understand myself, and become more aware of my thinking pattern and behaviors. I have learned that our subconscious mind is indeed in control of us if we don’t learn to modify it. It doesn’t mean that I’m beating myself up for any of my unwanted thoughts, feelings, or actions, I’m simply looking at them from a neutral point of view. Like does this serves me or not, and if not, why do I let it happen, and more importantly, how can I change it?

And sharing this with you readers, keep me accountable in a way, because by evaluating the situation and my behavior I become even more aware of myself and now I can do something about it. If a similar situation comes up again, I can RESPOND instead of REACTING, and that’s how we learn to take more responsibility for ourselves and our lives, by actually learning something from an unpleasant situation.

I would love to hear your feedback about this, what you think, and maybe you have suggestions on how I could have handled it better.

2 thoughts on “What To Do Instead Of Reacting?

  1. Finally we are getting the rest of the story! For me, I find when I am being attacked, or when I am in front of an angry or negative person, I take a deep breath, smile, and either just go on about my business or depending on the conversation, speak an encouraging word, change the subject, or just say “so sorry you are having a bad day, I hope it gets better” since my mental transformation, I no longer react in anger, but find myself having thoughts of kindness. It is really weird. I cannot explain it. The pharmacy in the drug store is the one that usually gets my goat. I have gone off on the Pharmacist because they tell me one thing over the phone, and the truth is totally something different in the store. Now I make sure my prescription has been accepted before I ever arrive at the store so I do not have to wait an hour for my prescription. I wish you the best, the main thing is you recognize the issue, realize there is a plan, and you are taking action. Your friend Coach MJ

    1. Thank you for your comment and your feedback on how you handle situations like this. It is far better for everyone to respond in a kind way instead of reacting with a negative attitude that only makes things worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.