Respond, Don't React!


Have you noticed that in a great number of situations, differences of opinions, or things that tend to surprise you negatively, your tendency is to react, not respond. Unfortunately, this can be quite problematic. Once you react, any constructive conversation goes out the window. Reacting can impact all those concerned in a very negative way, sometimes long term.

Taking the time respond after hearing something which disturbs you, gives you power. It allows you to think about what was said and how to respond in a more loving and respectful way.

If you tend to always react, I'm sure you've noticed how this negative pattern backfires time and time again. Why? Because once you react, it causes the other person to do the same. And now you end up with a blow up instead of a flare up.

You're going to see things and hear things that are upsetting. But you can practice taking a step back to get a better perspective of what's happening. It's possible you may have misunderstood something. In which case, talking about it calmly will lead to a resolution rather than a battle of the wills.

I'm not saying it's easy. But it is possible. Next time you hear something that doesn't quite sit right with you, take a breath. Literally. Sit it with for a few seconds before responding. Ask for clarification if need be.

Chances are you'll keep the peace and solve the problem. Isn't that a lot better than fighting? Fighting takes so much physical and emotional energy. That's definitely something on which you don't want to waste your energy.

Save your energy for the good stuff; the things that bring you joy. Then go and spread that good energy!

Well Street

Emotions are powerful, and when they fuel our reactions, there's no room for objectivity, clear thinking, or calm.

You're right, this practice isn't easy. Any steps toward becoming better versions of ourselves will involve heavy lifts performed many times. That said, enjoying harmonious relationships with less discord makes all that lifting well worth the effort.

Tin Cup

Well said, I agree. It seems that needy ego fuels our emotions and makes it harder to keep them in check.


Exactly! That's why taking a step back and a deep breath, reminds us that we can be in control and not our Ego!


Absolutely! Just like heavy lifting at the gym shapes our bodies into something amazing, do does the heavy lifting in our relationships. The difficulty should not stop us from working on it. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, as we all know.


It seems people are always in a hurry which can promote reaction or even over-reaction rather than response. As you say, take a breath and really listen, and you might hear something completely different. And thanks for the reminder to spread your good energy generously 🌻


You're welcome! You are right that we are often in a hurry to "defend" ourselves. But from what? That's why it's really important to stop and listen to what was really being said. Often our own filters have a way of clouding what's right before us.


This is very true.

One thing I try to do when important needs or wishes are on the table for discussion, is anticipate that the other person may not welcome my ideas, and might challenge, contradict, argue, defend, or want to do things their way. By anticipating blowback and preparing for it, I can avoid my own negative reactions and listen instead to the fear coming from the other person. Negative reactions are always rooted in fear or ego and they are most easily triggered when someone is hungry, tired, or feeling pressed for time.

Thanks for posting this. Resolving differences in a calm deliberate manner is always rewarding and often yields surprising, novel solutions to the challenge at hand.


I like your approach. Anticipating that someone may get defensive from what we say, gives us a chance to prepare to maybe say it differently, or say it in a why that's less inflammatory. Because even if what we say is not negative, it might be perceived that way.


So true. How we say something and present ourselves at the outset is key. Tone of voice. Warmth. Openness. Love.


Tone of voice is particular a way to set the mood for any conversation!