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16 Responses to “Do You React Or Respond?”


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  1. This is great stuff, Sherri! My favorite part is this:

    “Is this worth ruining a relationship over? My guess is no. There are very few things, none that actually come to mind , that are worth ruining most relationships over.”

    This is such a powerful way of thinking about things, and the world would be a much better place if we all viewed things from this perspective.

    Jay Schryer’s last blog post..Mindful Meditation Monday, Week 4

  2. Awesome! I’ve never thought about whether I react or respond, but I definitely think I’m a reacter. I need to work on this and you’ve given me some great ideas to start thinking about how to respond. Thanks!

    Positively Present’s last blog post..trust me: to be happy you need to trust

  3. Beautiful post, Sherri. This is a lesson I had to learn pretty quickly when I became a mom. We have a natural tendency to just react (often over-react), but when we do that with kids it really affects them in profound ways. Now my first reaction is to breathe, and think for a moment as to how I want to respond.

    It has made all the difference in the world. :)

    Lisis | Quest For Balance’s last blog post..How To Cultivate Serenity, A Simple Guide

  4. Sherri,

    I love your detailed example! A measured, thoughtful response is the goal. I try hard to respond, but sometimes I fail and react (usually with anger). I’m pretty good at apologizing though. :)

    I would like to add that a response could be negative and still be appropriate. If somebody did break the vase intentionally, anger may be the appropriate response to help the person learn about appropriate behavior.

    Roger – A Content Life’s last blog post..Meditation for Beginners (Week 6) – Next Steps

  5. Nicely said Sherri.

    Reaction come from the habit-mind. Response, if we are present, comes from spirit.

    Kaushik’s last blog post..Acceptance – 7th Awakening is Simple book excerpt

  6. I am, most of the time, a reactor. I don’t like that. I want to surrender to responsiveness. Thank you for sharing such thoughtful, compassionate insights on this. Very helpful!

    Megan at Simple Kids’s last blog post..Connecting with Nature: Challenge #1

  7. manish

    nice, i do agree to all wahtever points u raised in your conversation here. if i apply this to my life i find whatever u said i did the same many times, REACTED BADLY n strained and spoiled relationships.ALAS!

    wish to learn something from todays post,so wish me good luck.


  8. Hi Sherri,

    I absolutely agree with you that “I can’t help it” or “I’m just hot headed” doesn’t cut it. I’ve been so guilty of the latter cos’ I’m pretty quick tempered. I haven’t found the remedy for it yet, but I do try to assert more self-control nowadays.



    Mark Foo | TheBigDreamer.com’s last blog post..My New Blog Tagline: Personal Development For Big Dreamers

  9. I remember once coming across a Buddhist saying that I think simply went “Think twice.” Before saying anything, take a moment to be sure that’s what you want to say and how you want to say it. Easier said than done!

  10. @ Jay – You’re not kidding! It would have to be something pretty terrible to risk ruining a relationship over. I try to keep that one at the forefront of my mind.

    @ PP – I’m glad you like it. It can be a slow process shifting from reacting to responding but it’s important to at least work towards it. Good luck :)

    @ Lisis – Yeah kids definitely give you ample opportunity to work on this one. Like I say it can be a slow process but I too am getting there. Breathing is good and then going through the questions just gives me a bit of distance and time to think.

    @ Roger – It’s good that you are good at apologizing that’s huge! I agree that anger can be an appropriate response some of the time but getting over it and moving becomes even more important if that’s the case. Talking things through and genuinely trying to understand the other persons position is what is currently working the best for me. Thanks for your comment!

    @ Kaushik – Very nicely said! Thank you for that and it makes me happy to know that you enjoyed the post.

    @ Megan – It’s always tough when we act in a way that makes us a little less than proud. Reacting often leaves us in this position but with time, patience and practice you can make responding your primary method of dealing with tricky situations.

    @ manish – Welcome! Thanks so much for your comment I’m glad you liked the post. There are very few things worth ruining relationships over. I hope you are able to work towards putting distance between you and a particular situation, allowing you to respond in a manner that’s respectful to everyone.

    @ Mark – It’s great that you are at least aware of it and are making an effort to be more self aware. There are a lot of people that simply fly off the handle and then wonder why everyone’s ticked. I wish you the best!

    @ Paul Maurice Martin – Welcome! Beautifully said! That’s exactly right. Once you say something you’re not able to take it back so pausing and thinking it through first is great advice! Thanks for your comment.

  11. Hi Sherri,

    I think a lot of people recognize the value in responding as opposed to reacting, but don’t have a step-by-step method for actually learning to respond in the moment.

    My strategy is similar: I’ve trained an ‘acceptance reflex’ in myself. The first thing I do (except when I’m already being really reactive) is just say to myself “Ok, so this is what’s happening. What should I do?”

    “Ok, what should I do?” is always a helpful question to ask oneself, but I think our culture trains us to ask “What should have happened?” or “Who’s to blame?” more often.
    [rq=2139,0,blog][/rq]How to Get Comfortable Not Knowing

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