December 22: Do I REACT or do I RESPOND?

For most of my life I have not only reacted to everything in my life, I over-reacted.  Just ask my kids.  They will quickly agree.  For many years, I was a young, stressed, married or single father in survival mode, and I spent most of their young lives trying to manipulate and control their actions, through fear, intimidation, and over-reacting.

Over-reacting is a learned and practicable personality trait.  The opposite is also true.

Anger.  Rage.  Frustration.  Stress.  Drama.  Jealousy.  Greed.  Hate.  Malice.  Experiencing any of these emotional reactions, on a consistent basis, can and will contribute to an over-reaction, which eventually results in a natural decline of lifestyle, the ability to communicate effectively, and a definite end to healthy relationships.

These things build up slowly, over time, compiling, compounding, and pressurizing, until all that comes out is explosions that damage us and everyone around us.

The interesting thing about feelings is that they do not come from what is happening, but rather from what we believe.  If something happens, and we react with anger, it is because that is what is already built up within us, and it is what we believe we should react with.

Many times, our reactions are simply a part of our subconscious programming, or a belief system, that was installed within our minds from well-meaning parents or caretakers, during the first few years of our early lives.  Because of misperceptions, assumptions, or the limited meanings that we attach with our young minds to anything and everything that happens early on, our automated, habituated, subconsciously programmed reactions we learned as children may be unknowingly, but consistently, the cause of every reaction or over-reaction we take, even decades later.

We may be completely unaware of this, and unknowingly pushing the right people, situations, circumstances, things, and opportunities, away, while attracting the wrong version of all of these things into our lives.

Our automated and habitual reactions may actually be destroying the reality we want and deserve, rather than creating it.

The beautiful thing about this is that we can, at ANY moment, turn it all around!  We can re-automate, re-habituate, reprogram, and completely re-create, EVERY aspect of our lives, simply, easily, and effectively.  It is through consistent repetition of new programming, and the installation of completely new beliefs, or the practice of slightly tweaking current beliefs, that we can begin to enjoy completely new results and outcomes in our lives.

There is a presentation given by two of the worlds most brilliant minds at a yoga retreat, which addresses this subject of reprogramming the mind in an incredibly beautiful and helpful way.  It is a video shared on YouTube, called, SELF OVER SITUATION.


is the key to 


These are the steps I finally learned, implemented, and still try to practice daily,  in order to quiet my mind, to stop over-reacting, and to start responding in a calm, effective, empowering, useful, and helpful manner:

  • Stop and take a few seconds to think about what was said or what just happened.  BREATHE DEEPLY a few times.
  • Ask myself, or the other person I am conversing with, why it was said or done, or what the exact intentions behind the actions or words are, rather than simply assuming.
  • Ask for more time to process and think about it if needed, especially if a request or an answer to a question is expected to be given.
  • Practice visualizing giving a calm, intelligent, helpful, value-added response.
  • At the end of the day, think of a response acted upon, and ask, “How could I have responded better?”  Then, visualize actually doing it, before going to bed.

I love the content Douglas Marshall shares.  Simply type his name into the YouTube search engine to enjoy some of his incredibly useful content.  The best question he teaches others to ask is, “How can I be a better _____________?”

Marissa Peer speaks very eloquently about bullying and how to handle it.  If manipulation or controlling us was the intent behind the actions or words of others, she teaches how to most effectively respond and squash the situation before things get unmanageable.  None of us ought to tolerate any negative behavior towards us from others.


We get more of what we tolerate, and we deserve more of what we allow.

It is incredibly important for us to remember to respond responsibly, effectively, and appropriately, rather than over-reacting to each and every situation.  Doing this consistently creates an alternate reality for us to dwell in.

People tend to get used to over-reactions and the over-reactions become less manipulative and less effective.

On the flip side, when we choose to consistently respond appropriately, and constantly practice doing so in ALL situations, we become dependably and predictably enjoyable to communicate with.  This quickly and naturally results in the attraction of a completely alternate set of people, situations, and circumstances.

Each thought we think and each word we speak is a creation.  The quality of these thoughts and words determine the quality of our lives, and the synchronicities and the serendipity which take place in them.

People begin to think of us as the, “Over-reactor,” and they roll their eyes instead of complying.  When we choose to respond appropriately, instead of over-reacting, we earn trust and respect, and people actually want to spend time around us.  Life becomes uncomplicated, more enjoyable, less stressful, and more manageable.

When we make responding appropriately, rather than over-reacting, a consistent, habitual, automated way of life, it all becomes quite simple.

Just as we don’t want to get comfortable allowing others to disrespect us, we also want to ensure that we don’t get comfortable getting caught up in the habit of disrespecting others, through over-reacting.

In her YouTube interview on the Lewis Howe’s Show, Marissa Peer begins to teach about criticism and bullying, and how we can all respond, rather than react:  She shares 5 incredibly beneficial steps on how to respond to criticism from others.

People who are not okay with themselves either try to embellish themselves and build themselves up, or they try to criticize us and diminish us, in order to look or seem better than us, or to feel more important, more validated, or more significant.  If we over-react, they are in control.  If we simply respond, educate them on what we will and won’t tolerate, and remain consistently confident in our responses, we are in control.  This is the best way I have come across to respond: (Right around 36 minutes and 15 seconds into her interview, Marisa gives a few excellent examples.)

  1. “Thanks for sharing.”
  2. “Would you mind repeating that?”
  3. “Are you trying to hurt my feelings?”
  4. “That won’t work with me.  I’m not letting that in.”
  5. “Since we are sharing, do you know what is running your critical behavior?”

These are the responses which will make us bulletproof to bullying or the criticisms of others.

The most useful tool I have come across, so far, has been the suggestion given by Marisa Peer, to, “LIPSTICK YOUR MIRROR.”  Her suggestion is to write the words, I AM ENOUGH, on every mirror in the home, set an hourly alarm on your phone that states, I AM ENOUGH, and to print out the words, I AM ENOUGH, and post them throughout the house, on walls, in doorways, and on the fridge.  I have done this.  It is amazing what repeating a simple, but USEFUL, EFFECTIVE phrase like this can do to reprogram the subconscious!

Another alarm I have set to go off daily as a reminder is SELF-APPRECIATION.  As soon as it goes off, I make a list of everything I appreciate about myself in that moment, and for that day.  Validating MYSELF in this way had left me impervious to the criticisms or lack of appreciation of others and the need to be validated through the opinions of others.

We were born into this life as perfect little babies, already enough, then made to think that we are lacking, not good enough, and broken, because of the programming, harshness, opinions, or brokenness of others.  I think it is time to begin to wipe the hard drive clean, alleviating it of viruses and old, useless programs.  I think it is about time we all begin to install NEW AND USEFUL programming, which naturally and easily empowers us to optimize EVERY area of our lives, resulting in MORE pleasure, MORE enjoyment, and MORE happiness, success, and abundance than we ever thought possible for us, as perfect, unique, beautiful individuals!  We deserve it!  And the first program that needs to be installed, is:




Today’s challenge for myself:  Today I will be mindful of how I react to everything that is said, and everything that happens.  I will question the intent of others, and I will ask myself throughout my day, “How can I react less and respond better?”  I will ask the difficult question:  “How can I begin to lean into what I really and truly am, and practice acting and reacting in alignment with what that is?”

For an incredibly deep look into feelings and how to rise above them, the book, LETTING GO, by David R. Hawkins is useful and empowering in making easy, immediate changes that will serve and save us.

goodinthehead is also on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.  Follow me there, as well, for daily messages, inspiration, motivation, and reminders.  Please pay it forward, and share this, and ANY message, which may empower someone you love or may care about.  It is through adding value to others by sharing and spreading wisdom, that we become more valuable as individuals, and collectively, as a whole, we all become wiser.

Remember:  Mindset matters.  Character counts.  That which we choose to consistently focus on is what EXPANDS in our lives.  WE CREATE our realities.

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