You’re waiting in line for the next available agent and someone steps in front of you and takes the lead. Did you react or respond?
You’re in a conversation that quickly turns from disagreeing to an argument. Did you react or respond?
To some the words mean the same, but there is a difference. When we react most often it’s a behavior that comes from the past. Somewhere along the path of childhood to young adult situations occurred that shaped how we understood what was being said to us. Despite all the high level thinking we might have developed over the years, put us to the test and we will react. Something throws us off center.
Knowing what tosses us off center (i.e., disrespect, anger) allows to find a better way to interpret interactions with forethought. It allows for a response that has been thought out and keeps you out of conflict, keeps you grounded. This process can take but seconds once you have identified where the reaction is coming from.
And then there is the aftermath. If your reaction to someone else’s behavior has left you empty, nourish the soul. Don’t be a carrier of their stuff. What brings you simple joy? Find that and undo the damage.
Be on the watch for reacting or responding.