Monday, July 15, 2013

Responding Versus Reacting

In physics for every action there is a reaction.  This is a law of nature.  For most of us, this is also true in our emotional lives.  Many people believe that their feelings is who they are.  This is not really true.  Our emotions do not define us.  When things happen in our lives we usually react in some way.  I tend to overreact to things I do not like.  I also tend to underreact to things I do not consider important.  Of course, what I do not like and what I do not think is important is not necessarily reality.  One of the challenges of life is to get beyond emotional reactions to things.  Overreacting and underreacting are emotional responses.  What we need to do is strive to respond to life and not to react to it.  In my mind a response is more intellectual and considered.  When my reaction is anger, I try to figure out why I am angry.  What is it about the situation that makes me feel angry?  I am a man of great emotion and occasional passion.  Deep feelings and passion are not bad things in and of themselves.  However, I try really hard to get past some of my emotions and to respond to things in a more considered and thoughtful way.  This is very hard for me sometimes.  Maybe it is for you too.  I challenge everyone who reads these thoughts today to go through this entire day without reacting emotionally to what happens to you.  Whatever challenges this day brings, try to respond rather than react emotionally.  My guess is that you will find it very difficult.  This is one of the reasons I meditate.  Meditation helps me to be centered.  When I am centered, I am calm.  When I am calm, I can more easily respond rather than react emotionally.  Sometimes in my day I have to say, “Breathe, Michael”.  You should do the same but use your own name. 8-)

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