Emotions - Reaction vs. Response


EMOTIONS EMOTIONS EMOTIONS…Tell Me How You’re Really Feeling!
When it comes to Emotions, when is the Magic Moment?

It’s taken me a loooooong time to master my emotions. I won’t tell you how long exactly, but I will confess it’s longer than I care to confess. It’s something I still work at, but it’s such a worthwhile endeavor and something I believe is one of the true arts of living. But what is Emotional Mastery? I’m glad you asked. Emotional Mastery is about not letting your emotions keep you on a leash, it’s about learning to breath;it’s about the MAGIC MOMENT. An easy and effective starting place is learning the crucial difference between REACTING versus RESPONDING.

Reaction looks something like this…

…Just getting home from work, it’s been a long day and you’re tired, but not too tired for the nice evening you’ve been looking forward to all day with your special someone. Maybe a little wine over a nice dinner and then relaxing while you catch up on some Game of Thrones together, sweet! As you walk in the door and hurriedly lay down your things,you going searching for those loving arms you, well, love so much. Ahhhhh there they are! You walk up, take them in your arms and lay a big ‘hello gorgeous’ kiss right on their lips. Music swells, you gaze lovingly into their eyes and then…all hell breaks loose.
“Honey get off! Paleaze!” they snap. “I’ve had a really bad day and I don’t feel like being touched right now. What is you problem? Can’t you see I’m not in a good mood?”
Errrrrpwochhhhh! (insert sound of brakes screeching to halt)
…Hands thrown in air, stepping away as you feel the sting of rejection and instantly fire back, “SO-RRY! I was just trying to be nice and say hello. You’re not the only one who had a tough day. I can’t read your mind. I don’t have a problem, you do!” There’s a strong surge of adrenaline and you feel a little overwhelmed by both your reactions as you retreat to the bedroom in a huff. Feelings hurt, people misunderstood, the awful chasm of “WTF?” wells up between you; things just got seriously derailed.
Your movie kiss moment has just ended up on the cutting room floor. And our little tale of reactionary woe draws to a close as we see just how easy and quickly it can be to put a damper on an evening. Slowly the realization that on a deeper level you just let your emotions get the better of you is creeping up and no one likes that. But worst of all, precious time together is wasted trying to recover from an incident no one intended to create.

Now let’s look at RESPONSE…

Same scenario, music, kiss, close up except now when your plan is thwarted something different happens. You feel that same sting of rejection followed by confusion and maybe even a little of that indignant “WTF!” but this time the feelings don’t take hold, take over, run the situation and, invariably, you. This time you’re able to step back, evaluate things and CHOOSE how you want to proceed. Maybe a more productive and supportive response (oh did I forget to mention patient too?) would be something like, “I’m sorry honey, I didn’t see that you were in a bad mood. I’m just really excited to see you and I was looking forward to our evening together. I’ll give you some space and if you want to talk I’m here to listen.” (I give you express permission to rip me off here and I won’t even try to take credit for it later). Major points scored, partner softens, peace is preserved and you now end up with an ‘I’m sorry foot massage’


What you have just witnessed is something I like to call the MAGIC MOMENT, think of it as a window of opportunity. It’s the sweet spot of space where you stop, reset and then choose your response. Choose is the operative word here. All too often we go through life on a kind of autopilot, reacting to people and events around us. It’s exhausting. When we take a moment to choose how we want to proceed wonderful things can happen. Our psyche is spared stress and anxiety and hurt feelings and unnecessary conflict with those around us can be avoided. It can feel strange at first learning to identify that moment within yourself, but with a little practice you’ll find it becomes instinctual and instant. The magic moment enables us to manage our feelings as opposed to our feelings running us because at the end of the day,while your reaction is usually perfectly understandable, maybe even justified, it often comes at your expense.
So as you go about your life over the next few days try it out and use this newfound awareness to assist you in handling situations in a way that will lead to a positive outcome and make you feel good about yourself. You don’t have to save it just for your significant other either, apply it to any interactions you encounter that might benefit.
And remember it’s your RESPONSE not your REACTION, chosen in the Magic Moment that will serve you best.

Samantha RossComment