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Reactions

Lately, I have been focusing on having more control over the way that I react…to good news, bad news, frustrating situations, interactions with other people, etc. It’s easy to quickly react to events, situations and people without pausing to evaluate. And the pause is critical. It can provide a better view of the situation at hand and give more clarity on how to react to it.

Examples…

I am on week five of my new career. I gave up a steady paycheck to make this happen. In those five weeks the following has happened:
– The pipe running to our washer was clogged causing it to dump water all over the laundry room floor. We had to hire a plumber to clean the pipes.
– Then the dryer died. It shoots sparks when we attempt to turn it on and doesn’t produce heat. We’re now in the market for a new dryer.
– A squirrel took up residence in our wall (seriously, wft!?) and we had to hire a critter catcher to trap it. Critter catchers are not cheap. I can’t blame them though. I wouldn’t want to do that job.
–  My laptop went to computer heaven.

It’s been one thing, after another, after another and has left me thinking, “Universe? What lesson am I supposed to learn from this?” It would have been so easy to get annoyed and angry about this string of events but instead I reacted by taking some deep breaths and letting it go. There is nothing that I could have done to foresee these events or prevent them. It’s just life. It will all be okay.

On the people side of reactions, I have actively been working to be conscious of how I interact with others and react to news they share. Instead of rushing off to the next thing to do or conversation to have, I’m trying to really engage and give them the reaction that they deserve. This translates over to arguments as well. Instead of flying off the handle, if I pause take stock of the situation, I usually find that I would have overreacted had I gone with my gut reaction.

I’m a work in progress. I won’t say that I don’t scream a little on the inside when these types of things happen but I won’t let it become something that ruins my whole day or that puts me in a negative place.

How are your reactions to situations and people? Are you able to take a step back?

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Sherry October 28, 2011, 6:50 am

    Thank you! That’s all I can say. I’ve been going through some things and life is really tough right now but I know we’ll get through it. This post is just what I needed. I’m going to start my Friday off on a positive note!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  • 2
    Sarah October 28, 2011, 8:47 am

    Great post! Definatley could be a lesson for all of us in this fast paced world. I know my initial reactions to things outside of my control have not been the best latley, and usually cause me to feel more stressed. Stepping back, taking a breath, and reassessing…great advice for any situation! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  • 3
    Jen October 28, 2011, 9:10 am

    Ugh, I’m so sorry Jen. I guess bad things happen in more than 3’s. Your attitude is so admirable though- like always! I have a hard time with reactions, too. I really try to pause in the middle of arguments, but it’s hard sometimes. Great post!

  • 4
    Jodi October 28, 2011, 9:13 am

    You are not alone. I too feel overwhelmed by what my life gives to me daily, however have learned that having a moment of pause, does make any situation digest easier.
    Through my many peaks and valleys, I remember that indeed everything could always be worse and there are those that have plates more full or even more complicated than mine. I am a big believer that if you switched to someone’s, yours won’t seem quite as heavy.
    You do a wonderful job in sharing your thoughts and motivations for others….keep it up, you are an inspiration for me as well as many others.

  • 5
    erin October 28, 2011, 9:40 am

    This post is timely, especially since my 3-year-old and I had a showdown last night! I try to breathe and count to 3 slowly before I react or respond when I’m frustrated.
    It took me a while to realize that a lot of the things I stress over, while inconvenient, can be handled and are actually minor in the scheme of things. That’s easy to forget if you don’t take a moment to reflect and be thankful.
    Great post!

  • 6
    Lauren October 28, 2011, 10:14 am

    It’s really funny you should post this, I am actually trying to make myself do some of the same things. I have been really bad about flying off the handle and then later, once I calm down, thinking “wow, that really wasn’t such a big deal.” There’s no reason to allow that kind of stress rule your life. It’s a good feeling to be in control… kudos to you for keeping it with all you’ve had going on!!

  • 7
    Allison October 28, 2011, 10:21 am

    You have such a great outlook, Jen! I, too, tend to struggle with ‘what’s next’ and not live in the moment and enjoy conversations and situations as I’m having them. It’s an important thing to keep in check. I’m sorry about the not so good events that have happened recently. Sometimes when the bad things seem endless, I remind myself that it could always be worse and that all the hard times will make you stronger! Grrr! Thanks for being an inspirational blogger to so many of us!

  • 8
    Drea October 28, 2011, 11:52 am

    When life gives you lemons..there is always a reason. :)..even sometimes when they are just ridiculous! But as a human, I feel like we are constantly being sent reminders to slow down or have patience..let go and have faith in something so much bigger than us. Laughter is an enormous help for me..I actually think it’s what keeps me sane! I’ve learned to laugh at myself and not take myself so serious. Everything always balances out. Hang in there!! Really enjoy the blog!

  • 9
    Rachel October 28, 2011, 12:06 pm

    I love this post! I get so annoyed by people who always say, “Hi how are you?” in the most fake manner and then never even pause to hear your reply. Most of the time I don’t even respond to the “how are you” part because I know they aren’t listening. When I greet people, I ask them a question that they have to stop and answer. For example, “How was your class?” “What are you up to?” et cetera.

  • 10
    becca @ just one more trip October 28, 2011, 12:20 pm

    lately i’ve really just been trying to be aware of everything. i don’t know if it’s the kiddos that have caused me to have a new awareness or what… but it’s really helped my patience level too. much more laid back about everything. and you know what? it’s keeping my stress level down. i kind of love it.

  • 11
    Tamara October 28, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Perfect post. Thank you! Can relate perfectly and feel like I am trying hard to take the same approach to things lately, because I have been feeling so overwhelmed, its easy to get upset, but its so much better to take some deep breaths, and let go. Its just life, you’re so right!, and its not worth the negative energy. This is something yoga has definitely taught me and helped me so much with! I find it important and helpful to start each day with a greatful heart. And do my best to stay that way as much as I can throughout my day. Being calm and present and thankful for all that I have. But of course I’m sure when all those things happen at once (dryer, plumber, laptop, oh my!) – it for sure makes you feel frustrated. We are ALL a work in progress. Sounds like you know what to do, and as always, you are so inspiring 🙂 Happy Friday, have a wonderful weekend!!

  • 12
    Jess @ Jess Go Bananas October 28, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Ever since taking up yoga, I react in a much more calmer manner and am able to have “calm arguments” instead of flying off the rail, like you said.

  • 13
    ashley October 28, 2011, 1:36 pm

    Great post / lesson! I definitely struggle with how I react to things and it’s something that I have been trying to work on lately. When it rains, it pours and I FALL APART.

    BTW – I once had a raccoon in the walls of my apartment on Overton. He apparently got trapped when they were putting on the new roof to my building. The Critter Catcher was almost as scary as the raccoon. I’ve never seen someone so enthusiastic about his job. 🙂

  • 14
    Clara October 28, 2011, 4:54 pm

    Ugh I can always use a lesson and reminder in patience, remembering to pause before I react, and just letting things goes. It amazes me how quickly I react sometimes, and the worst is when others recognize it too. Sounds like you’re doing an awesome job- you’ve reminded me to refocus my efforts on these areas too! Have a great weekend.

  • 15
    Trish October 28, 2011, 7:19 pm

    sometimes life does that- lots of bad things at once. I bet your active lifestyle and good diet helps. It really gets so much easier as you get older too – things just dong seem to merit the reaction they once did. One of the definite pluses of reaching my 40s.

    That’s very admirable that you are working on your interactions with people as well. Especially since as an instructor and trainer, people need your input, and they will see you as an authority in your areas. I know some will go overboard with their need for info or affirmation, but hopefully most will respect that you have other clients as well.

  • 16
    Katie October 28, 2011, 10:20 pm

    Great post! Thanks for the reminder to pause before reacting. Sometimes it does feel like the world is working against me – but if I take a moment (or 2…. or 3) I remember how blessed I truly am and that “this to will past.” Wishing you a peaceful and restful weekend!

  • 17
    Becca October 29, 2011, 12:06 am

    I’ve been silently following your new career over the past couple of months, and while I know that there are ups and downs, just know that your experience is inspiring and honest and MUCH appreciated. I’ve recently started a new job in a new big city, and it has been so hard, but I am convinced that I am learning some great life lesson through it all:)

  • 18
    Jen October 29, 2011, 12:37 am

    Great post. I’m not going to lie, there are many times I thought/still think that just throwing caution to the wind and trying to find a way to live on doing something like yoga and writing…but honestly, I think sometimes we can get too caught up in the hype of doing what we love, etc. At some point, we do have to really consider what we want in life. Personally, after having tried going without – I NEED the full-time stability of my “real” job. Even though I don’t like it. No, but it gives me at least peace of mind that I can pay my (enormous) bills. So I suck it up and do it. Sometimes, yes, we have a choice…but we have to choose realistically as well. I guess it’s part of being an adult. My car broke down several times this past year and without my stable paycheck there’s no way it would have been cared for. And my stress levels would have been through the roof. I still struggle financially (don’t get me wrong) even WITH the full-time job, but at least I have some sense of structure. I am just trying to seek ways outside of work to satisfy and fulfill me. We can’t always get what we want right?

  • 19
    Anna October 29, 2011, 12:47 pm

    I recently started reading your blog and was surprised at how similar our lifestyles and interests are–I am a runner, peanut butter/nut butter is a daily staple in my diet, love and eat sweets on a regular basis(especially ice cream), have pizza and a beer every Friday, and take Body Pump classes several times a week. I’m trying to start a regular yoga practice as I find it is helpful for so many reasons and am finding that your posts motivate me to keep trying to “fit it in” to my schedule.

    But when I read this post I felt like I had to comment as my wash machine malfunctioned a month ago flooding my basement, then about a week later my laptop stopped working, and on Sunday I came home from a weekend away to the sound of a squirrel living in my wall. Seems we’re more similar than I thought:) I tried to use these instances as reminders not too let “things” alter my mood and accept the fact that I cannot control and plan for everything! It’s hard to acknowledge that (especially as a person that likes to plan) but is also very freeing. I look forward to reading more!

  • 20
    Lisa November 4, 2011, 5:03 pm

    You just described how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s literally been one bad thing after another and it’s been so disheartening I’ve wanted to scream “WHY? What’s NEXT?!” It’s hard not to react. I don’t do well when tons of things start to pile on.

    Any tips?

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