Response-Ability Part 2
PURSUIT OF CALM #37
Your life is not determined by what happens to you,
but how you respond to what happens to you.
If your choices in life are creating consistent conflict and enervation within you, then you really shouldn’t be that surprised if your relationship with reality – how you respond to the ebb and flow of your everyday life – tends to default to an unconscious-reaction – a reaction fuelled by ego, anger, anxiousness, frustration, impatience, unkindness, insensitivity…
Unless you’re a sociopath, none of us ‘want’ to react this way, we’re all too familiar with the jarring impact our irrational behaviours have on us, and those around us.
We hardly rehearse these ‘reactions’ in advance, so it’s interesting why we, for the most, react this way with such brutal efficiency.
‘Reacting’ is problematic. It compounds and perpetuates the situation in front of us, it detrimentally impacts everyone around us, it undermines our psychology, impacts the quality of our choices which is then reflected in our actions.
Dependant on if we ‘react’ or ‘respond’ moment by moment is born from our conditioning – what we believe to be true – and, the present state of our mind – if we’re stressed & anxious, ‘busy’, suffering the effects of alcohol, chronically distracted…
Reactivity never solves anything, it only kindles, ignites and perpetuates our problems.
When we ‘react’ we void any ability to learn about ourselves, or the situation at hand. We remain effectively ‘stuck’ by (un)consciously acting against our best interests, because we are being controlled by our emotions, which dictate our actions.
‘Response’ on the other hand, is our capacity and ability to respond to a situation or a problem via a calmer-state-of-mind.
The calmer you are, the more aligned you are with your now, the greater the opportunity you have to construct a conscious response, rather than an unconsciously emoting. The most likely result then is the circumstance in front of you will bemore helpful rather than antagonistic.
Observe Cause & Effect
How we respond, learning how to respond, being responsible for our response is mindfulness 101, or awareness 101, or attention 101, or meditation 101…whatever you want to call it.
It’s here, in that window of time – that breath – between stimulus and response is where we can identify destructive patterns in our thinking and behaviour so we can, over time, direct and influence them in a more positive direction. It is up to us to become the observer of our thoughts and the actions those thoughts provoke.
Where do they come from?
What biases do they contain?
Are they constructive or destructive?
Do they cause you to make & repeat mistakes or engage in behaviour you later regret?
Curating calm-attention allows us to look for patterns; to find where cause meets effect.
It is only when this can be done consistently, like everyday, can negative thinking and behaviour patterns be broken; only then can the real life improvements you desire be made, for the long term.
When you are friendlier with your life, life reflects back to you your calmer, kinder & gentler inner-state. Life stops being the source of constant conflict, and the excuse we use to be unkind to ourselves, and opens up to be the ultimate resource where we find our longterm health, strength, joy and happiness…aka our vitality.
Next: The Quiet Ego: The Power Of Humility
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