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Don’t Push My Buttons!

What is the difference between reacting and responding? 

The most important difference is the control you have over your emotions.  When we react, it is an emotional knee-jerk snap.  It is usually as a result of someone ‘pushing our buttons’.  We can go from 0 to 100 in seconds.  It is sometimes as if we are being taken over by another force as we feel the uncontrollable need to immediately and vehemently attack or defend.  You may be thinking, is there any other way?

The good news is no matter how ‘wrong’ or abusive the other person or situation is, you do not have to react with an emotional explosion.  You can choose to respond in a firm but calm manner.Responding can only come when you give yourself the time and space after the comment or situation that upset you.  You begin to look at the ‘upset’ as a ‘set up’, an opportunity to look at your triggers, your part in the situation.

When you wait and don’t immediately respond to the upsetting circumstance, you give yourself a gift, the gift of thoughtful introspection. That time and space enables you to consider the situation, what has triggered you and how you want to respond in a more rational way. The gift is grounded in self growth.  First you can ask, ‘what button is he or she pushing?’  Was I aware of the button?  How long have I had that button for (I guarantee it pre-dates whomever is pushing your button right now).

Now you have learned something about yourself.  How is this button or trigger serving me?  Do I always respond the same way (ie. do I always feel like a victim when someone speaks abusively to me and then react in kind?).  How might I respond differently?  Now you have created a space to learn something about yourself and respond to the other person in perfect control.  You have taken a ‘negative’ situation and made a positive out of it for yourself. What is the benefit of responding vs. reacting.

When we react, we dump our emotional load on others.  Even if we have something important or wise to say, because we are doing  it from a place of upset, it is mired in our angst.  What the other person hears is our anger, resentment, pain or frustration, not the thoughts and wishes that might be buried somewhere within our reactive statement. When we respond from a place of calm, we can say what we think and how we feel without dumping our emotional load in such a way to overwhelm the other person.  It gives us an opportunity to be clear and concise, to state our needs or desires separate from our upset.  It also gives us an opportunity to own our lesson in each situation.

This is not to say that the other person did not do something ‘wrong’, it is simply to say that every upset that we go through is a lesson for us about ourselves and if we choose to look only at the other person’s wrong doing, we are missing a great opportunity to grow!  So what do you do?

  1. Don’t Shoot the messenger (do not react to the person causing the upset).
  2. Get the message (realize your trigger, the thing you learn about yourself).
  3. Spend some time figuring out your triggers and considering the way you respond to such triggers.
  4. Finally, RESPOND from a place of calm and clarity.

Choosing to respond instead of react is also a choice to move into a more positive energetic place.  You have heard of The Secret: The Law of Attraction.  Most people live primarily in victim and conflict energy.  These energy levels of destructive and leave us feeling sad, hopeless, frustrated, angry and upset. When this is how we feel, it is also what we attract in others. By learning how to respond, to reframe what has happened and begin to cope in a different way, you increase your energetic vibration to a more healthy and positive energy.  As a result, you will feel better about yourself and your circumstances as you begin to learn from even the difficult experiences.

The added benefit is that as you change the dance with the person you are in conflict with, they too will change the way they react.  Without trying to control anyone but yourself, you will have a positive impact on your interactions.  Moreover, when you begin to live your life from this higher energetic platform, you attract those with a similar healthy energy.  You no longer find yourself with the same unhealthy people (partners, bosses, friends) in your life.

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