Reactions are instant, impulsive and emotional. But responses are planned and well foresighted. Responses are more constructive than reactions. Uncle Google somewhat agreed to my definition.
Uncle Google differentiates reaction & response as under –
There is a huge difference between reacting and responding. A reaction is typically quick, without much thought, tense and aggressive. A response is thought out, calm and non-threatening. A reaction typically provokes more reactions – perpetuating a long line of hatefulness with nothing accomplished.
I was just thinking about our day to day behaviors and dealings with our family members, the people in our communities or at our work places. In all our dealings emotions play a bigger role in the way we react to different people and situations. And these reactions are shown non-verbally or verbally depending upon our guts. For example, when our boss in the office scolds us in fronts of others our face hangs down in embarrassment or in anger. This is non-verbal reactions to a person or the situation. But when a colleague scolds us or misbehaves with us we talk back or shout back at him/her. That will be considered as our verbal reactions to the situations or to the people.
The important fact is our reactions are mostly negative and begets more negative situations or reactions as the Uncle Google explained it in his definition mentioned above.
Psychology today defines reactions like this:
A reaction is instant. It’s driven by the beliefs, biases, and prejudices of the unconsciousmind. When you say or do something “without thinking,” that’s the unconscious mind running the show. A reaction is based in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level a defense mechanism. It might turn out okay but often a reaction is something you regret later.
The Bible says,
p style=”text-align:justify;”>A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath,
But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.
Watch the above words carefully… Soft, Gentle and Thoughtful. The word ‘thoughtful’ makes it clear that the answer would be well planned, positive and slow. That is why the impact was greater, positive and beneficial: turns away wrath.
Whereas words like, Harsh, Painful and Careless are usually spoken in haste and without thinking even twice. This hastiness is our reactions which beget more negativities: stirs up anger, whereas a thoughtful answer is a well-constructed response.
Again I would like to quote that article on Psychology Today:
A response on the other hand usually comes more slowly. It’s based on information from both the conscious mind and unconscious mind. A response will be more “ecological,” meaning that it takes into consideration the well-being of not only you but those around you. It weighs the long term effects and stays in line with your core values.
Really loved the differentiation of response and reaction explained in the above article.
I would like to explain 5 valid factors that determine why we should choose Response over Reactions. They are as follows:
Time Taken: Reactions are hasty; Responses are slow and time-taking. Hastiness is a sign of immaturity whereas matured people always take time to decide and take their steps.
Goal Oriented: Reactions are erratic; Responses are well directed keeping the bigger picture in mind. We all know well directed and well aimed at are usually bring results. When we realize how this specific situation fits into our overall goals and objectives it will be easier to respond aiming at the goals.
End Results: Reactions provokes more negativity; Responses are positively impacting. Reactions usually bring about more negativity and worsen the relationships, situations etc. But responses usually impacts positively. We have already analysed how harsh words stir up anger etc.
Self or Others: Reactions are self-centered; Responses are wholesome and beneficial for all. Reactions precede from our subconscious self and very harmful. They come out without our notice and without a thought. Reactions are very self-centered. Whereas responses are beneficial to self and to others as well. Responses are always compassionate and kind to all, Self and Others.
Closed or Open: Reactions are narrow; Responses are open with more choices to choose. Reactions come when we don’t know or think we don’t have any other options than just behaving in a certain way towards the person or situation. But when we realize that we always have choices, we consider them with a response before moving forward with our reactions.
Whether we are at our workplaces dealing with our colleagues, bosses or any situations, whether we are in a family situation with our loved ones around us we should always be careful about our reactions which really don’t help. Always giving time to ourselves will help us to respond.
Let’s choose response over reaction from now on and measure the benefits in our life.