Raghav was a very strict father and his three sons tried their best not to come under his radar as much as possible. Being an accountant, his office was always overflowing with files and most of the time he needed his sons to keep it organized.
One Saturday night after dinner all were spread out in the living room with mobiles in hand. The boys were busy making plans of spending a joyous Sunday with their buddies. And out of the blue Raghav announced,
“I need all three of you at the office tomorrow. Some people are coming in for a round on Monday and we need to put the place in order.”
How do you think the boys reacted? It is obvious, not very favourably. Definitely they were angry, frustrated and felt the pressure of not being able to enjoy their holiday with their friends.
Let’s look into another anecdote before moving further.
Vishal’s son Venkatesh was a good boy and was concentrating on his career which delayed his marriage. He was almost thirty. But his neighbours never stopped taunting Vishal and always passed dirty remarks.
“Vishal you are a fool. Just wait and watch, I’m sure Venkatesh is having an affair and will one fine day bring a girl in front of you.”
Venkatesh would get irritated and tell his father.
“Why don’t you back answer them? Just zip their mouths and tell them it’s none of their business!”
But Vishal refused to react and as usual, would only smile and say, “Time will tell.”
Our reaction is the emotional energy that we spend in response to the actions of the outer world. Almost everybody feels that it is the other person who is forcing us to behave in a certain way. Wrong. Of course this is difficult to understand and digest.
Our reactions come from our emotions and thoughts. They come from within us. It is nobody’s fault if you act on an impulse without thinking. I’ll simplify this aspect for you. We meet hundreds of people everyday. And with each one we have different interactions and varied relationships. All meetings are not pleasant. Everybody will not do or say what we like. So does that mean that others are triggering negative feedback in us? They are simply doing what they want to do and saying what they want to say. So without a doubt, it is you who is responsible for your reactions.
You must have heard many people blame others,
“He made me angry!”
“She made me sad!”
My question is, did he or she ask you to get angry or be sad?
I strongly believe that our reactions make us and shape our personality. They reflect the type of person we are. It also shows how much control we have on ourselves and how confident we are in our own skin.
I agree this aspect is not easy to fathom. It took me years to train myself and understand that my reaction is totally in my hands. Nobody can control it. I follow a few strategies and they have worked for me.
When something negative happens with you, take a pause. Who’s asking you to respond immediately? Take your sweet time. That small gap between the action and reaction will give you a breather to clear the clouds and think wisely.
Choose your response as you would choose what to wear. It’s up to you whether you want to blast, bang, walk away or laugh over it. After all, your reaction is under your control.
When Suresh screamed at Reema for not waking him up on time, she chose to keep quiet. When he finished his breathless monologue, she said softly,
“I did come to wake you up, but you said the meeting is cancelled, let me sleep.”
All of Suresh’s anger melted away and now he didn’t know how to react.
You can well imagine what would have happened if Reema had backfired.
We save a hell of a lot of disputes and frustrations when we react calmly.
Nowhere am I telling you not to react. All I’m saying is choose when and how much to respond. Many times silences can disarm a person what tongue lashing can never do.
Even you must have experienced that when reacted without thinking, it only leaves you with regrets and broken hearts. And trust me, the more your reactions are subtle, the more you’ll find inner peace and you’ll become closer to yourself. You’ll give extra importance to bigger things in life than fussing over trivial issues.
Let’s end with a lovely quote by Hans Selye.
“It’s not the stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.”