I saw a 14-word article headline yesterday that triggered my emotions. It was enough to spark the fire of anger, fear, frustration, confusion, and disappointment. I hadn’t yet read one word of the actual article but I could already feel my emotions brewing, craving validation.
Do you ever experience something similar? Maybe with a headline, a social media post, a comment in a staff meeting, the look on someone’s face, or something you see in your house?
What do these things, including the specific headline I read, have in common? They’re all things to which people can be reactive rather than intentional. Just the sight, sound, or sense of a particular trigger and, BOOM, reaction. Almost instantaneous.
Push back against your reactions. Don’t let them be in charge. Fight against them at all costs or run the risk of being controlled by them in the exact moments you don’t want to be. A worthy aim for life is to not be reactive to anything.
- A disagreement on strategy or principles.
- A childish act by a colleague.
- A hurtful remark from a spouse.
- A cancelled flight.
- A leadership decision.
- The list goes on . . .
- Because reactions don’t see beyond the emotions of the moment and life is more than this moment.
- Because we are capable of similar behavior to the ones we react to and have likely done it repeatedly in our own ways, possibly in identical ways.
- Because we gain no peace, resolution, understanding, appreciation, or connection by reacting.
- Because the better version of ourselves is not reactive and we have a responsibility in our own hearts and minds to the better version of ourselves.
- Because there are better alternatives. Find them or create them.
Everything is training for something. Do the work.
PS - The specifics of the article headline are not important. What’s important is I felt the surge of emotions, was self-aware of my impulse to react, and intentionally chose not to. What did I do? I wrote this message instead.
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