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Responding versus Reacting

There are numerous situations in life that cause us to react and respond, yet the two aforementioned words are used interchangeably and carry very different impacts on our environment. Since words have exponential power, this post is dedicated to dissecting the two words and examining the implications of each.

Reacting

Reacting has to do with a physical or emotional consequence that is caused by a direct stimulus.  Reactions are generally unconscious, reflexive, and visceral. Free will is non existent and you are at the mercy of cerebral actions. You are caused to react and thus do not have control over how you respond. Therefore, reflexive reactions serve very little purpose in the modern world.

Responding

Responding generally has to do with an action, either a physical action or something that is said. Generally, a response involves a conscious decision. Responding is equated more to free will and forethought. Therefore, if a power rating were to be allocated to responding versus reacting, responding would be a “10” and reacting would be “0”.

Bottom Line

When giving a response, you are in control of yourself. While in reactionary mode, you are giving away all of your power to the visceral responses that inhabit your primal mind. Reactions should only be reserved for instances where critical thinking and reflection is life threatening. Otherwise, it is best to respond with authority and comfort knowing all of the angles and various possibilities have been considered before making movement.
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