Developing a love affair with reactions

Loving reactions helps us to see the communication a reaction is offering.

Developing a love affair with reactions

Reactions are often portrayed as a negative, with people making comments like:

  • I need to stop reacting
  • You need to stop reacting
  • I’m trying not to react anymore
  • That’s a reaction… that has to stop

All with the intent of saying ‘reactions are wrong and they need to stop’.

But what if reactions are not wrong … what if reactions are offering us something extremely valuable?

The key is, unless we embrace reactions as something we can learn from, they become our kryptonite.

What if it is not just about ‘stopping reactions’, but rather developing an understanding of:

  1. Why the reaction and …
  2. Listening to what the reaction is communicating

It is true, reactions feel horrible in the body and each and every person would prefer not to have a reaction, however stopping a reaction is not always addressing the reason why the reaction first occurred. Addressing why the reaction occurred is an essential step if we are actually going to stop the reaction for good.

What are reactions?

Reactions are simply any movement in a person’s body away from their natural state of settlement. Settlement is when a body feels absent of anxiety, feels at ease and settled with being in life and with what life is presenting.

Reactions might be quite subtle:

  • A tightening of the jaw
  • A tense muscle
  • A thought absent of love
  • A need for something to be different
  • Butterflies in the stomach

Reactions might be more intense:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Withdrawal
  • Self-harm
  • Harm of others
  • Verbal attack on another

Reactions can be overt (observable by others) or covert (only felt internally by the body). Reactions can be of a low intensity and barely noticed outside of the astute observer, while reactions can also be intense and clearly observable by others. Reactions sometimes seem like they don’t impact on others, while other times reactions are very direct and pointed towards another.

Reactions come in many forms but simply put a reaction is –
Any movement away from our natural state of feeling settled.

So, if reactions are a movement away from our natural state of feeling settled, why would we want to develop a love affair with reactions … why? ... because reactions are a form of communication.

Reactions tell us a lot about how we are experiencing life.

We live in a forever expanding classroom of life, where there is an endless array of life lessons on offer.

Each person is the same, in that we all have many lessons mastered, with many life lessons YET to master. Each person is different in that what life lessons one person has mastered, another may not have mastered … YET.

We are all forever students in a life filled with an endless array of life lessons ready to master when the willing student is ready – this is why we are all the same.

Reactions are our first sign of anxiety indicating there is something happening in life we do not yet feel equipped to respond to.

Reactions are our body’s way of communicating to us when a yet-to-be mastered life lesson has just been presented.

So what if we make our approach not about stopping reactions of ourselves or other people, rather about:

  1. Observing the reaction and then asking …

    a.   What is this reaction communicating?
    b.   What life lesson is on offer ready for self-mastery?

Then …

  1. Embracing the life lesson on offer and developing self-mastery over that life lesson. Learning to respond to life rather than react to life.

  2. Then a new part of life becomes self-mastered, but also, the reaction around that life lesson becomes redundant.

To free ourselves and others of reaction is not just about STOPPING THE REACTION, but about developing a love affair with the communication that the reaction is offering and then developing a way of responding to all the life lessons that are on offer.

Unless we embrace the reactions as something to learn and grow from, they become our kryptonite.

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  • By Tanya Curtis, Author, Behavioural Specialist, Assoc Dip Ed. (Child Care), BHlthSci. (BehMgt), MBehMgt, MCoun

    Tanya is dedicated to supporting people to understand and change their unwanted behaviours and live their full potential. Tanya’s deep care and love of people shines through all of the initiative she dedicates herself to.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd