Do we really have the choice of how we behave? Can we decide how to respond or is it mostly automatic? Can we decide not to react? Obviously some people can and some seem to have real difficulty controlling their reactions.
It can be described as fast thinking or slow thinking. It does seem possible for some people to choose their response. Surely, this choice must be available to most people.
There are two steps to having more choice.
The first is to be more aware of everything. To step back from getting caught up in emotions and thoughts and being driven by them. They are both wonderful abilities but they are abilities. They are not us and they don’t tell us what to do. They like to tell us what to do but we can choose to listen to them. ‘Thanks for the warning”.
The second step is to pause even for a nanosecond when strong feelings or thoughts arise or arrive. If we pause, we have more choice. No pause. No choice. A pause before responding can make a difference between saying what will make a positive contribution and making a situation much worse.
Try counting to three before responding to any question or situation. Of course, in a life threatening situation you might need to act instantly but even then a slight pause might help you make a better decision.
Try pausing for a week. Reflect before responding. Be more aware of everything. Notice your thoughts and feelings as if they aren’t you but something that you engage in. Use them but don’t let them use you.
Mindfulness, emotional intelligence, situational awareness.
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