Changing Our Responses to our Experiences

How have you been doing with the practice of being aware of your reactions and responses?

What have you learned about yourself?

How many of your responses are bringing you results that are not supportive of your highest goals? When you are ready to move on to more useful responses, it can be a fairly straightforward change.

Steps to Change Habitual Reactions

  • Pay attention – become aware of your responses.
  • Ask yourself whether this response is getting you what you really want out of life.
  • Consider other possible responses.

Other possible responses can be limitless. Whether they are rational or not, worthy of consideration or not, at the beginning it is a good exercise to simply consider the possibilities.

Instead of responding to a situation with anger…again…consider reaching out to the other person to find a resolution, looking for a silver lining in the situation, going within to find a lesson that can be learned, or simply be grateful that the situation wasn’t worse.

Instead of being offended by someone’s remark, consider whether there is some truth to the comment that could provide you with a growth opportunity (and respond with gratitude), or if it is just a reflection of how they are feeling about themselves and projecting it onto you. You may not like the person’s behavior, but there is no reason to be offended.

Remember that we have choices in the way that we respond to situations. Expand your range of choices. Enjoy the greater freedom that you can gift to yourself.

When you have chosen a new response, try it on for size. Imagine what it would feel like and look like to respond in a more positive way. This can be a powerful change in your life.

So, during our months of construction and displacement, I have had the choice  to be upset and frightened or calm and creative . Either way, the only person who is experiencing those internal states is me. I always have the choice to be miserable or to be resourceful. And so do you.

In the midst of all the house construction, the disruption in my practice, and weeks in hotels, I have chosen to remain calm, get to know the workers at the house and the staff at the hotels, choose new colors for some of my walls, enjoy the idea of fresh construction materials in my house, and have a mini “stay-cation” on the Kirkland waterfront during these past weeks of spectacular weather.

When you are faced with challenging events, how will you respond?