Why do we feel the need to react so quickly? When someone comes at you from a place of anger, anxiety, jealousy, frustration, etc. you are under no obligation to respond via text, email, phone or in person. In fact, I’ve found that a better outcome all around happens when I don’t react – at the least, not right away.
When someone’s in their ego, all heated, they say things they don’t mean. And my ego’s first response is to throw it right back. Over the last year, I read somewhere, we have no obligation to respond. In fact, my first response is often unloving. So I decided to put into practice the art of delay! Not because I’m passive, or afraid, quiet the contrary – it takes everything in me to not react quickly.
I have found over this last year of practice that a large portion of the negative stuff just naturally disappeared, some of the people came to me with an apology for coming at me, and the rest I was given intuition on how to be genuinely, calmly loving in the right time. Sometimes, weeks later, someone would bring up the dispute and we’d calmly share our thoughts and peacefully understand each other. If I had immediately reacted, the conversation would have gone from bad to worse. There are times when someone DEMANDS a response. To which I still maintain, you don’t owe anyone anything. You may find it best to say, I’m gathering some thoughts and will respond later – but this is really based on each situation and following your gut.
One of the Four Agreements (A great and easy book I’d highly recommend reading) says, “Don’t take anything personally.”
I know I’m guilty of making up fear-based ideas in my head about others, if I spoke quickly about every thought there would be A LOT more drama in my life. I’ve never believed in the phrase, “Don’t let the sun go down while you’re still angry”. We often feel different after we sleep on things and cool down. The same is true for others who appear to be “coming at us”. They’re likely dealing with their own issues, emotions and situations which we may have no idea about – it’s not personal.
When I feel the drama coming in, I try to remind myself, other’s agression is simply a cry for love. Sometimes they may not even be in a place to receive anything – and space is the best idea.
We are NOT obliged to ever respond. Nor are we obliged to continue relationships with anyone in our life. I have had moments where I’ve distanced myself from very close relatives because I knew I didn’t have it in me at the time to be sweet and loving when they were clearly in a bad mood. You may be surprised, should you start this practice of non-reaction, just how many negative people will voluntarily exit your life. Misery loves company and like attracts like. If you practice not playing into the drama, it won’t even exist. The gossiping will stop coming your way, the negative Nancy’s wont enjoy sharing their tales, and people will look for another target to get a reaction out of.