Respond Instead Of Reacting
Respond Instead of Reacting: Speak Your Truth, Not Your Fears
We have all had those moments where someone said something and our reply came out filled with heated emotion. That is called reacting. People often get triggered by things others say and do and react before even thinking. The key is to breathe, relax and even walk away for a minute if you need to before reacting instead of responding.
I think this happens because of triggers from things that have happened to us in the past, because of things that scare us and because of things we do not know how to deal with or that go against what we believe and we feel the urge to fight back in defense instead of giving a calm response.
There will always be people who disagree with us so I am going to use an example that includes religion or faith. I was in an online discussion with some people and the topic of religion came up. Those against it began making comments that were denigrating, insulting and attacking. Some people were giving replies back that had the same anger only they were angry at what was being said against an important part of their life. Discussions that turn into nothing but angry rhetoric never accomplish much.
So, I took a deep breath, read all the comments before making a reply and posted that religion or faith was a matter of choice and that I was a person of faith. I went on to explain what I personally believed in never putting down anyone’s religion. I had one or two people tell me to shut up, how stupid I was and there was one that told me they hated me and hoped I would die. Quite a lot of ugliness there. I took a few seconds to make sure I responded and did not react back to what was said. I think especially with religion, it becomes a hot button for many people.
I replied to the person telling me that they hated me with the following: “I am sorry you do hate me for I love you as we are told in the Bible to love one another. As far as dying, I do not worry about dying because I know I will be in heaven with Christ when I die and I pray you have that same assurance.” The person did not even know how to reply to me because I did not react like they thought I would. I responded calmly. After about five minutes, one of the others giving me a hard time asked me how I could know and that opened an opportunity to explain what the Bible says. Had I reacted with the same emotions they were using, it could have turned into nothing but more hate. Yes, Christians can show hatred and anger even though it is not what we are taught. And when that happens it makes us just as wrong as the ones hating on us.
One of the things my son and I learned is that we do not always “hear” what another person says and that is because we are reacting to what they said or we are thinking of our response and not hearing all they said.. We have learned to say when someone says something that hits us wrong “Wait, let me tell you what my head heard you say and will you tell me if that is what you meant?” There have been times one or the other of us has said “My brain heard such and such” and the other person look horrified and said “No, no that is not what I was saying.” So making sure we really hear what another says is vital to good communication.
The problem is we all use different definitions for words and so can misinterpret what another person says and we all have experiences from our past that shades what we hear. I will give an example. I was at my computer and my son was cooking. He was telling me how to defrag the computer and as I followed the instructions he was calling out, I stopped and asked him why we were defragging the sound. He looked at me so confused and asked me why I said that. I told him that it said defrag the volume and so I wondered why are we defragging the sound. He smiled and said that the word volume here meant quantity of files not volume as in sound. Can you see how easily it can be to misinterpret what someone says just with this easy examples? And we are in the same household. We all think in different ways including family members and close friends.
My philosophy is to learn how to respond and not react. And I believe we should respond with kindness and compassion even if the other person is not doing that. And I especially believe in being respectful. We do not have to agree to do these things. It does not diminish how we feel. The quote above says to speak your truth not your fears. I believe many people “react” to things people say because they are afraid of hearing a view or opinion that is different from their own for fear they might find out that their view is not valid. If we truly believe something, hearing a different view is not going to change that. And we might actually learn something if we listen to others talking that might change our view. If we want people to listen to us, we must be willing to listen to other people.
No comments yet.