Responding, Not Reacting

By Marsha Hudnall
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Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.  ~Viktor E. Frankl

This quote crossed my computer last Friday, sent by wise woman Ellen Shuman, founder of A Weigh Out.  She offers hope and coaching to end emotional eating and binge eating, and is a soul sister to Green Mountain in terms of her approach.

 

I've been buried in work this year.  It's been building all summer, and doesn't appear to be letting up much this fall.  I do have hopes for the load to subside some time soon, but in the meantime, I've just got to keep going.  But to help me keep going, I've got to change something.

What I think I need to change most is my reaction to things.  Frankl's quote above spoke to me clearly about what I need to change.  What it says to me is all about mindfulness, something we talk about a lot here at Green Mountain.

  • Slowing down
  • Being in the moment
  • Thinking before we act (or react)

The word "respond" is what struck me most clearly.  I'm not sure the dictionary would back me up on this, but to me, "respond" implies thought, not blind action (or reaction).  It implies a measure of calm, taking the time to weigh options, even if momentarily.  It includes that space Frankl talks about.

 

Defined in this way, responding instead of reacting can set the stage for better achieving our goals, whether they be to plow through our work loads while maintaining a degree of sanity, or to manage emotional eating, or achieve the permanent healthy weight loss that's eluded us before.

Of course, there's more to achieving our goals in areas such as these.  But giving ourselves space gives us the opportunity to consider different ways of doing things.  And a different way to tackle a problem is often the key to solving it.

Do you give yourself the space to respond instead of react?

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