Do you act or react? The power of pause


Facing life, we have two basic options concerning what happens to us: we can react or act. Our brain can react without thought in a situation that demands our answer: if we react we can continue to worsen the problem instead of solving or diminishing it.

Sadly, most of our actions result from reaction, not from reflexive action. That means that most of the ways we respond to what happens to us does not go through a filter of wisdom and calm, but from stress, impulse, an immediate emotional response.

In the article, Responding vs. Reacting J. Loeks explains: “The act of responding requires one to look at the circumstance, identify the problem or situation, hear what is happening and reflect. That reflection can be for a moment, five seconds, one hour, two days or longer. The time frame doesn’t matter. What matters is that you stopped and put an effort to think and suspended judgment. It is a conscious act and shows that you are willing to listen or observe. This ‘gap’ between the circumstance and your behavior is what contributes to gaining a sense of control in your life. Once a person can identify that in responding they actually have a choice in the manner, he/she will start to realize that they are able to make better decisions. The key is that pause. If the situation requires an immediate action, then just take a deep breath first. This alone can help one gain a semblance of control and make one choose an alternative statement or action that can make a big difference in an outcome of a situation.”

Learning how to respond instead of reacting can make a favorable difference in your life. When you react without a thoughtful pause, you can hurt, offend or make bad decisions. The pause is a valuable tool to use in your life.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) says: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Victor Frankl, holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, wrote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Self-discipline is what we need before we react. We need to think, analyze and then act wisely. Choose that space. Learning to respond rather instead of reacting takes time and practice, but the results will make positive changes and work toward solving problems. Use this pause in your life!

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