Reacting versus responding

What is emotionally being triggered and reacting versus emotional control and responding?

This is something that over the past . . . well, I guess I should just say life because really, it’s a life lesson isn’t it? We all have to learn this, we all have to learn how to have adult conversations. That starts with emoting versus being emotionally controlled. Aggression and attacking versus communicating and expressing. Misunderstanding versus understanding.

I struggled with this a lot growing up because I didn’t have the correct role model, but as I grew up, I discovered the difference between communicating and how nice it was, to simply reacting and essentially pushing away. Also, someone who has been emotionally abused can struggle with what is “healthy,” and what is not. It can be a daily struggle, no lie. But this is the difference between conversing and being emotional. Many don’t know the difference, more so I’m gonna look at women. Because if a woman is told something like control your emotions it can instantly be “I’m not emotional!” No. We’re all capable of experiencing emotions. Your emotions are yours to have. They are not wrong. Mine are not wrong. We are both able to feel them, to have them. Do you know what we also are capable of? Taking a break, calming back down, and then responding versus reacting.

A lot of it can come from having negative experiences and not knowing how to properly tell someone to gain control. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that in some way. More so had we dealt with a narcissist personality or someone displaying those moments. It’s not “you’re out of control and crazy.” It’s “your emotions are controlling your speech and how you’re speaking.”

When we’re triggered, we can become heightened. Take a moment to think about when you’ve received criticism, or critiques. Unless you are great at that (can I be you?), the initial feeling is always heart beating faster, maybe feeling shame/guilt, pulse increasing, flushing. Then it moves into our energy, our speech, our tone. Consider right this very moment if you’re calm. How do you feel? How do you speak? That energy you feel, that you put off right now? Very comfortable, warm, inviting, open. THAT is responding.

Now consider the other side. Consider if you’re irritated. For whatever reason. Maybe you’re having a bad day. Maybe someone insulted you. Maybe your kids/pets are just getting on your last nerve, you’ve had a hard day, you’re tired, and you just want it all to stop. How do you feel? Heart racing, maybe shaking, maybe a pain in the chest, maybe hot. Depends on your own way. Wanna run away, or wanna attack. How do you speak? Maybe a bit more rushed, maybe a bit more snappy, the words are anything but kind. They can be abrupt or harsh. (The examples depends on each of us, I can still say words like “okeydokey”, ” when mad one time, the next major cuss words slip out in a different moment, lol.)

Notice that energy? That is harsh, not inviting, not warm, maybe it’s a bit cold, it’s irritable, it’s repulsive in many ways, and people prefer to avoid. Then around that, the person dealing with you? They too can become the same. Like a wave that energy flows from us to someone near. From them to another near. Same with the gentle energy above.

That is reacting.

Quick examples:

Reacting (blame) – “You never talk to me anymore!”
Responding (understanding) – “I would really like to spend more time with you, I feel as if we’re not as close anymore and ___”

Reacting (blame, shifts responsibility of our feelings onto other person) – “You never listen to me! You’re so selfish.”
Responding (understand, taking responsibility for our own feelings) – “I would like us to talk more, I feel as if ___”

Reacting = blaming others for how we react, putting out happiness in their hands, expecting them to please us, take, take, take energy. They must make us happy.
Responding = balanced emotional state (calm), understanding where they’re coming from, that they’re not intentionally causing us harm, giving them the benefit of the doubt, keeping our happiness in our hands, asking them questions.

It can be a daily struggle for me too, as stated above, to not allow that emotion triggering to take over. It’s the reptilian brain fight or flight. Consider how many ignore, run, shut down, hide, versus communicating and being vulnerable, opening up to others, being raw and authentic, baring our soul. They say “don’t do that,” but why? What happens when more of us begin to? It’s not as “weird,” and “rare.” It becomes second nature.

When we learn to open up and communicate with one another, less misunderstandings will happen. We begin to understand where the other is coming from. They throw around the narcissistic word quite a bit. They say don’t give your power away. Exactly. Don’t give them responsibility over your emotions. The thing is? If we learn to manage our emotional state and don’t fear being raw, open, authentic?

They are no longer something to fear.

Stop being afraid of having conversations, being you, being open, talking and responding versus reacting. I think it’s one reason I love the show, This is Us and A Million Little Things. It shows the power of communication, understanding. People may say, it’s just TV, it’s fiction.

Is it? I have the same relationship with my best friend. Her and I disagree, we communicate, we have it out. We share differences, we share similarities, we talk, we communicate, we apologize, our bond deepens when we work through things. We don’t attack and divide and blame. We take responsibility for our own actions, feelings, thoughts, we’re quick to try to understand the other versus misunderstand.

Note – today I heard a great question to ask when confronted if you choose not to ignore. Ask – can you elaborate? I think I’m going to try using that when confronted at times (if possible).

I am beyond blessed to have that relationship. It’s probably the healthiest one I’ve ever had. Balanced. I am grateful that life brought her into my life because I’ve learned that sort of relationship exists. I’ve had it since day one.

We need more of those. Why does it work more so? We are completely open and authentic with one another. We don’t hold things back, lie, manipulate. We act like adults. If she weren’t my best friend and I didn’t agree? We could be civil and disagree. Doesn’t even mean (I’ll put this into the idea of any other relationship) that I have to like the person’s ideas or beliefs, but I can be an adult, civil, and talk. One day the relationship may change. It’s not about hiding, either. I’d still be very open with my feelings. Explain I don’t like this and this is why, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be kind to you.

I’ve had those type of relationships too. Over time it was easier to be friendly because neither forced the other to change, and we were both honest, and I was always kind. I chose how to speak to them. Responding versus reacting. The respect grew, the bond matured. We’re good friends now. I’m sure we’ll continue to have disagreements, but at the end of the day it’s about understanding each other, gaining wisdom, not separating and running the other way, furthering the divide.

Respond versus react. Converse versus talk at.

Changes everything.

If you like this content. Like, comment, and share with your friends. Follow for more. And yes, there will be more. I’m trying hard to keep stripping myself open – we all need this, not just me. Maybe me a lil more. I’m always open to learning more about you, hearing how you think. Open discussions welcome. 🙂 Maybe we can learn from one another & gain more wisdom. I look forward to your thoughts if you feel inclined to. Hope to see you around here again. As I grow on this Journey of Life, maybe something I say will help you. Maybe you’re just gonna sit back and laugh at my stupidity. Either way works. You’re still a wonderful human being worthy of so many dreams come true.

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