Our reaction to events makes a difference

Our reaction to events makes a difference

Life is not defined only by what happens to us. It matters above all how we react to circumstances and also the lessons and resources acquired to deal with similar experiences in the future.

Our reaction to events makes a difference

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

Destiny is capricious: sometimes it gives us extraordinary moments, other times it reserves us crises and difficulties. As the philosopher Epictetus pointed out, more than the events themselves, what matters is our reaction. It can happen to react badly. Because it is not easy to be strategists of adversity or guru of existential oscillations.

We could add another interesting idea to Epictetus's sentence. What determines our quality of life is not just the way we react to unexpected difficulties, to the black swans that the essayist Nassim Taleb told us about. The lesson received from that specific experience is also important.

People react to and understand difficulties in very different ways. For some, for example, losing their job means getting stuck or falling into depression. Others, on the contrary, take advantage of this opportunity to reinvent themselves, to give life to new projects that end up giving great results.

All this teaches us that not only do we need to know how to react, we also need to know how to respond to emerge stronger from a situation that has put us in difficulty.

Regardless of what happens, what matters is our reaction

Surely you have happened to read or listen to the phrase: "life is for 10% what happens to you and for 90% how you react". Nevertheless, many of us are often victims of what happens. We feel unable to act, because the impact of events keeps us anchored in suffering longer than necessary.

When the days go by and we don't react or face situations, only questions appear in the mind. Why did this happen to me? Did I do something wrong? What will become of me under these circumstances? We focus only on the facts, on the adverse events. But there is another way to handle these situations.

Instead of obsessing over what happened, we need to awaken attitudes. More than asking questions, we need to design strategies to react to a specific problem. It is about replacing anxiety with decision making and thus making fear and pain disappear.

Acceptance and transformation in the face of the things we cannot change

No matter how difficult it is, it matters how we react and how we choose to respond to a problem. As Albert Ellis put it right, a person matures when he finally stops blaming others for his own unhappiness.

It doesn't matter what our parents did, it doesn't matter how much pain we felt during our last romantic relationship; no matter how angry and disappointed we are with current or past political management. Our reaction is important. Just that.

Each of us is the central axis of our life and respecting ourselves is our greatest responsibility. So when something happens that leaves us breathless and is beyond our control, the first step will be to accept what happened. The second, the transformation. Only when we dare to change and make bold decisions, our reality changes. And it does it for the better.

The best dress in difficult days: the attitude

Of all the clothes we wear, the most powerful and beautiful is the attitude. It directs our feelings and emotions towards a purpose.

Attitude reduces insecurities and fears, sets goals on the horizon and also helps us make decisions by trusting ourselves.

Every day we have the opportunity to build our future

You may have uncertain, difficult and complicated days. In these circumstances, it also matters how you react and what you choose to do. You must also remember that everything you do today will build or limit your future tomorrow. We can build or destroy, go forwards or backwards.

The decision you make today will have repercussions in the future. So, choose to take responsibility for acting, responding, making dreams come true and adopting strategies by remembering that yesterday doesn't matter, it matters what you do today, here and now.

A reaction changes something about us

React and respond are verbs that indicate action, movement. It is the favorite activity of those who choose to abandon the old patterns to act with a new perspective. Any unforeseen event, any big or small challenge inevitably forces us to detach ourselves from the past to project ourselves into a future full of light, energy, courage and creativity.

Because beyond what happens to us, what matters is our reaction, how we choose to overcome obstacles and what new skills we will use to do so. Because one thing is certain: knowing how to react allows us to live better.

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