Monday, August 7, 2017

Respond or React?

It is okay to be wrong. Sometimes, I believe that as we are growing up, we get the idea put into our beliefs that we must be right all the time. That is not possible. As soon as each person comes to grip with that concept is when they have started the journey of growing up to become a responsible adult.

I know that it is not always easy to accept criticism. Usually, it has to do with the way it may be presented to us, at least it is that way for me. Constructive criticism is a good thing in my book. It is not as if I don't trust my own inner instincts...I do! This is very important for all of us to understand in order to continue to grow. I know many people of all ages who can't seem to listen to the voice in their head telling them they are correct or perhaps that they need to step back and start over with a new twist on their ideas.

Plowing ahead in the wrong direction will get one nowhere fast. On the other hand, plowing ahead with good ideas is not a bad way to go, just a rather lonely way to go. Why not collaborate and work on going further and faster with someone else's eyes and ideas helping you? I find when I do that, I have choices. I can either fine tune my idea using someone's suggestions, or I can stay on my own path and ignore. It is not a case of being prickly about another person's suggestions. Just a matter of having an open mind.

In other words, go ahead and get comfortable with not having all of the answers. It may mean letting your ego flare up within you for a moment. That is alright; as long as you are able to draw in wisdom from that. Learning how to calm yourself is a skill that many of us need to practice. Find ways to self-soothe yourself that are acceptable, which may mean listening to a quiet, calm voice within yourself. Never blame yourself for the dark cloud of moodiness hanging over you when someone points out your errors or ways to improve.

Instead, learn how to respond rather than react. The difference is easy to explain. Immature people tend to react. For example, if someone lets you know that your theory has some miscalculations in it, a response would be to firmly object and go on to explain or demonstrate why or why not. A reaction would be to throw a fit, burst into tears, or slap them across the face. All of these reactions are emotionally charged. Just because someone brought you a cactus, does not mean that you have to sit on it.

In order to put a hold on reactions and do more responding, I like to use a trick that I have learned over the years of dealing with people who have come to me with their reaction of what has happened to them in one way or another and they are demanding that I "fix the problem." 

First of all:   Listen to them. As long as they are speaking without yelling or cursing, give them some time to give you criticism on the way things are done that they feel you may or may not be responsible for. Let them vent. I have observed that usually one loud and obnoxious behavior from one person can trigger that same emotion in another person. What is accomplished then? Someone has to take the lead and respond in a calm and skilled manner. This takes away the drama.

In the end, you can agree to disagree, the difference in handling criticism this way is that it means that two sides have taken responsibility for their own actions and attitudes by taking control of their emotions. We all have this power within us. You are not there to have your mind changed into their beliefs. They may possibly start out thinking they have all the answers, yet if handled responsibly, they will also see that there are two views to every situation. (In some cases, even more!)

J.K. Rowling said, "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you've failed by default."

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