One of the things I want to improve and change is my quickness to react to things. I don’t mean reacting out loud verbally; rather, I mean my quickness to react emotionally to situations that are bothersome or upsetting.
Let me give you an example. Today I was having a messaging conversation with some friends and after two people said something I did not particularly agree with, I immediately thought, Wow, that wasn’t very thoughtful of them. Why would they think or say that? and I felt a little hurt and defensive. While I did not respond immediately (that type of reaction is something I worked on a lot last year in my experience while working at the newspaper) I did respond out loud and react emotionally. I was annoyed and a little hurt.
But then, after giving it some thought, I realized something very important: not everyone is going to say things that you like all the time. And just because someone says something you perceive to be unthoughtful or insincere or even hurtful, that doesn’t mean they meant it that way at all. So why would I be so quick to react negatively? Yes, it was good that I did not respond to it when I was annoyed and in this bad mood about it. But just because I didn’t respond that doesn’t mean I did not feel annoyed. So why feel the emotion at all?
I believe that as humans, we are all completely entitled to feel how we feel. Our emotions are part of what makes us who we are. But I also believe that negative, sudden reactions can cause some serious rifts, both in relationships with others but also in our relationships with ourselves. After reacting negatively out loud, I felt icky inside and like I was in a mood for no reason whatsoever. And for what? I text message I probably misinterpreted.
At the end of the day, words are just words, and a message is really just a message. We can’t control what others say, but we can definitely control how we react to others and the world around us. And how we react plays a big part in our moods thereafter.