Where am I Standing?
In Response or Reaction?
You may remember from previous blog posts, this quote from Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space, in the space we have the power and the freedom to choose our response. In the choice lies freedom and growth!” – from A Man’s Search for Meaning
In our current environment, our choices are certainly limited, unless you make a simple decision: reaction or response.
Reaction tends to be unconscious and automatic, the “fight for flight.” It’s impulsive and emotionally driven.
Response is conscious, thoughtful and considerate of impact.
In the work we do with our clients, we are always focused on raising individual awareness (consciousness), which culminates in a conversation about choice.
Awareness is the portal to discovery; choice drives action.
Awareness demands we examine how we see life and the beliefs we have about it, thinly disguised as facts or thought. It demands we discover the non– reality in how we see life and how those beliefs drive our behavior, none of which is real! It’s only real to us in our interpretations, and whoever we can get to agree with us.
We say there are only two places from which you can see life: Outward or inward, which determines the result we get.
Looking outward has us assigning an external cause to the effect we are experiencing…”that happened because”…”I feel this way because”…”she/he did that because.” Anything that follows “because” is external. It is mostly based in fear and blame and is the playground of victimization. We become “the effect” of some external cause and in the progress usually suffer and point fingers and blame. Not much access to our power.
This external reaction technique makes it hard to remember “suffering is optional.”
Looking inward best starts with the realization that “yes, s**t happens,” about which I have little to say, however in all things I have accountability. I look inward to see where my ownership lies, which then shapes my response.
Response is a choice, reaction is not!
My point is this. We have a choice. We can live in the light or we can live in the dark. We can live in fear or we can live in our personal power.
We can bring light to the dark, but it comes from inside.
We can choose Victim as our operating platform or we can choose Ownership, depending on the results we are dedicated to. There really is no other place to stand!
Last month, and worth mentioning again, I talked about our personal Core Values; those fundamental, typically unseen, values that shape and drive our life… The ones that get formed early, that stay with us for life, shape the foundation of our character, and that give us unease when we don’t live consistently in accordance with them, which can be difficult since they are usually invisible to us.
I think the current environment will expose our deepest fears, concerns, beliefs, and emotions.
How do we deal with that? Paying attention to our Core Values is one platform on which we can stand. If our “True Self” had a language, I believe it would be our Core Values. Staying anchored to our Core Values is a hedge against the anxiety that deep uncertainty brings. There is a lot of current commentary about people reaching out and people stepping up to help others, I believe that is Core Values speaking!
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space…”
How different would our life look, if we were aware enough to let our Core Values choose our response?
We have choices, we can choose to let our Core Values guide our actions, or we can be guided by fear and reaction.
We can choose to operate within a decorum of decency, or we can let our actions be guided by a narrow band of self-interest, misidentified as survival.
We can choose between being a victim of circumstances or muting our reactions with a conscious response.
There is no right or wrong here, whichever way you choose. And it’s always a choice. You just get different results!
How we do life is how we will do business.
Right now, everyone is our business.
Here is a timely article discussing the usefulness of stress: