Partially because of my dad and partially because of the neighborhood I grew up in I learned to react quickly when I was faced with adversity. My dad always said, “if he hits you in the mouth, you hit him back harder.” And that’s what I did.
If you pushed me I would push back. If you punched me I would punch you right back. If you yelled at me I would yell back at you. We didn’t have a lot so it was my way of protecting what was mine.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college (I know! I was a slow learner.) that I started learning the power in responding versus just reacting.
When we react we are going by instinct; what has been learned from habit. Most of our “reaction” habits are bad. If someone says a bad thing about us we’re quick to retaliate with something worse about them. If someone takes a shot, we take a shot right back.
When we take the time to respond we are thoughtfully considering not just the present time but the future as well. We sacrifice a juicy hurtful comeback for a chance at a more fruitful relationship.
If we practice responding instead of reacting enough it will eventually become a great character quality.