As I sat here in my semi-cleaned kitchen, chomping on baby carrots (straight from the bag because I like to live my life on the edge) and sipping my sparkling water, I came across a thought-provoking post on a social media outlet. The question posed to the readers was, do you mindlessly react to situations or do you thoughtfully respond? A rather deep question, it would seem, for a person in my current state who was just asking herself the equally deep question, “…should I get some ranch to dip these carrots in?” In all seriousness, this question did beckon a response from myself. I felt the response I gave wasn’t all too shabby, so it sparked the decision to blog! Here was my response,
“I would agree, reacting can be this reflex action sometimes, but I try to be more mindful. As you said, some days we will be more successful with responding than others, but at least we are making the effort to self-correct! In certain circumstances, reacting can be momentarily gratifying but that is always short-lived. It goes back to the old saying, ” Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I try to reflect what I want seen in the world. Although our mind may tell us, “react, they NEED to see my reaction!” I think simply responding speaks volumes. Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset! ❤ “
I would like to elaborate more on my response.
Certain times throughout our days, people may disrespect us or try to provoke us and if you’re like me, your mind tells you REACT REACT REACT. We can’t fathom sometimes the act of just thinking before reacting. Instead of taking a breath and contemplating a more intelligent and graceful response, we want to show we can go toe-to-toe with this person and possibly one up their actions. We don’t believe we should be disrespected, so we think we will teach the other person a lesson by beating them at their own game. While I’ll agree that I don’t usually extend respect to someone who isn’t extending it to me, we can most certainly stop and think of a better way to respond. I’m often hearing a voice in my head reminding me, ” …quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger…” which comes from James 1:19-20.
Sometimes, this appears as a weakness in the eyes of others. They believe if we don’t meet a negative with another negative, that we don’t have any self-respect and we allow people to walk all over us. Not true! There is a healthy balance where you can respectfully be assertive while thoughtfully responding to what has just been done or said. As I mentioned in my response, there can be a momentary sense of gratification after “putting someone in their place” and trust me, I KNOW some people seem to need that reaction or don’t seem to be receptive to anything unless you do choose to react, but those same people also get gratification out of provoking you; when they see you react they know they have the ability to control your emotions. Although they may be somewhat offended by you putting them in their place, they still feel pride that they were able to disrupt your inner peace and joy. Those individuals will love knowing that although they may not have gotten what they set out to get, they still caused you to react which will likely spill over into the rest of your day and onto others you come in contact with. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem worth it. It’s also worth noting that these individuals are prepared to meet reaction with reaction, so a thoughtful response rather than a mindless reaction can truly throw a monkey wrench into their plans and really throw them off their game.
Some people we encounter may not even intentionally set out to provoke a reaction from us, so once their mindless reaction is met with a thoughtful response, this serves as a wake up call and reminds them that grace is better than retaliation. This could also serve as a reminder to believers that we are to be a reflection of God to others, and extend the grace He freely give us to others as well. To reiterate, you will be more successful some day than others, but the important fact is that you are acknowledging and putting forth the effort for self-correction. It will not happen over night, or even all at once, but over time you will see that the little corrections here and there will retrain your mind. I am in no way telling you not to stand up for yourself, but choose a wise way of doing so. There are usually always those extenuating circumstances, but normally those aren’t occurring on the daily.
I loved what I had to say at the very end of my response and I think God gave me those words in that moment! “Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset!” We like to believe that we don’t have the power to retrain our minds, but this is simply false. I can tell you that from personal experience with extreme anxiety, panic attacks, depression and more, that I truly have felt with all my being that “I cannot come back from this. I am too far gone.” Something I want everyone out there reading is to know you are NEVER too far gone! You can always come back to center and reset. Trust me, anyone who would have witnessed how bad things got for me, would have said there is no way to recover from this and certainly not without being heavily medicated. While I am in no way condemning getting help in the form of medication, what I am saying is you CAN get back! God allowed me to get so lost that once I was able to find my way back, I knew how to help myself and more importantly, how to help others! I found understanding and purpose! So, if you’re someone who feels that you cannot retrain your mind to be more positive, that it’s impossible for you, hear me tell you IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE and if you truly desire to, YOU CAN DO IT! Self-correcting once a month, once a week, or once a day is all equally productive! It starts off small and over time will multiply and before you realize it, you are thoughtfully responding rather than mindlessly reacting! It takes no effort what-so-ever to impulsively react, but it takes true strength and character to be mindful of how you will respond.
Much Love and God Bless XO