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It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters

Epictetus

Think before you (re)act my dad used to say. He would be proud of me right now. It only took me 40 years until I got it figured out. Yes, sometimes I’m a real slow learner 😅 But, life can indeed be easier if you take the time to think things through.

I just knocked over a freshly made cup of coffee and found myself cleaning the countertop for the past 20 minutes. Instead of the usual swearing and blaming it on something or someone (I was alone so nobody really to blame 😆), I just shrugged my shoulders and started cleaning.

While I was doing so, I smiled at myself, with myself, was this really me? Did I just manage to keep my cool and deal with the situation?

To say that I was pleasantly surprised is the least. But what surprised me the most was the good feeling I had about it. Despite the fact I was cleaning, the way I reacted just felt good! Being angry and upset about the lost cup of coffee wouldn’t have helped me out.

The way you react to a certain situation does make a difference!  

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it – Charles R. Swindoll

And I’m not only talking about a spilled cup of coffee, I’m talking about how you react to that nasty comment on one of your recent posts, on that sad news you just heard, or to an annoying e-mail from a colleague.

You always have a choice in how you react. And please… don’t say it’s just the way you are 🙄 it’s maybe the way you are used to, but you do have a choice! Even if it takes you 40 years to find out 😅

I don’t know if it’s because I’m meditating daily, because of my gratitude journal, or my daily walks that I’m more conscious about the way I handle unforeseen situations. There are however a couple of things I take into account before I (re)act.

I breathe…

When something comes up that triggers a reaction I really don’t want, I take a deep breath in and out. I know it sounds cliché, but it sounds cliché because it just works. I pause for a moment to avoid my natural reaction taking over – shouting, swearing, blaming … That moment could be very short or could take a bit longer, depending on the situation. Either way, it gives me the time to make up my mind how I want to react.

Let’s say you just got a terrible e-mail from a client or team member. Your initial reaction could be typing an even more terrifying e-mail as a reply. I’ll show them!

While taking a moment to breathe and think before you act, you give yourself the time to separate your feelings from your actions. You still might be feeling very upset but you can recognize it and then make up your mind how you want to react.

I go for a walk…

Ok, walking away from a countertop filled with coffee isn’t a situation you can walk away from, the coffee would still be there 🙄 But, if I can, then going for a walk is definitely an option. It clears my mind and gives me space, so I don’t react in a way I’m going to regret it afterward. I can let it GO.

I wait before I press send…

By doing so, I often change my response or even delete it altogether. This could be a text message or a response by e-mail. Just make sure you don’t send it by accident 😅 yes, that happened to me as well.

All these little steps make me more conscious about how I react to certain situations. It surely helps me out in how I invest my emotional energy!

Oh, and I poured myself another cup of coffee by the way…

Do you find it difficult to see it from the right perspective? Then maybe finding more balance in your life is your first step.

Download the free e-book “6-step roadmap to unlock your pathway to that balanced life!” and start today. Don’t wait 40 years like me 🙄

Peggy

Peggy

Hi, I'm Peggy, A Backyard Hiker. I like to inspire you to go outside, to explore your Backyard. All our backyards look different but we can all hike!