Actions and Reactions

We have always heard of how people say that, your actions shape up your life. Well actions do shape up our lives, but so does reactions. It is always what we do and how we deal with something, that shapes us; not only the ‘what we do’ part. A person has a certain amount of control over the actions part and this is why god has given us a brain to use, but the things we react to? We have absolutely no control over that. We don’t know when something will happen, we don’t know why that something will happen and we don’t know how we will react to that something that happens. The main point is that, something does always happen and puts us in a test. It is a test to see how we will react. That reaction and its outcome is what shapes us.

It is the same when you are driving and out on the roads. Part of driving and the part that you can control is, to drive safely. What that means is, you drive within the speed limits, you adhere to the rules etc. The part of driving and being on the road that you can’t control? The reactions of the other drivers on the road is what you can’t control. You might be driving safely, in your opinion, but suddenly a drunk driver or over speeding driver, might come crashing in to you. How you react in that situation will determine the outcome of what will happen. If your reflexes are sharp, you might swerve the car and avoid a collision, or if a collision is inevitable, you might avoid a bad collision. However, if you don’t do anything and jus wait for something bad to happen, it will happen. The car will come crashing in to you and god forbid, you might even lose your life.

When we have to react to something, we are always left with choices in our mind. There are the two obvious basic choices; to react or not to react. Once the person decides on reacting to the situation, then the person has to choose between whether to react in a harsh manner, or to ignore the situation. Ignoring the situation or planning to ‘not react’, is also part of reacting. In a situation like a car collision, obviously the person would react. If the person doesn’t react, then either the person is drunk, highly sleepy or highly stupid.

Sometimes few big situations happen in our lives which force us to thinking in to react. One of the things that trigger us in to reacting is emotions. One of the emotions which is the most common trigger is, anger. When we are angry - due to so many reasons - we react through retaliation. The response of retaliation is what gives us an outcome to the situation, which shapes us and makes us learn. In some cases, we don’t learn and we keep repeating and doing the same things over and over again; but in most cases, we learn from what we do. We always learn. Whether we acknowledge that or bury our lessons learnt in the subconscious mind is another matter though.

Anger is an emotion which arises after you are antagonised by something or someone which has done you harm and wrong. You feel that it shouldn’t have happened. Anger can be good and bad. As long as we control our reactions, when we are provoked to express anger, we can use it to our advantage. Anger lets out a lot of thoughts from our mind. When we are angry at someone, we vent. We bring out a lot of things in our mind, sometimes few things which were buried and we didn’t even know we were thinking on them and those were the cause of the anger as well. Being angry and venting helps us feel better. When we are angry, sometimes we cry and that helps us to give ourselves a relieved feeling. On the other hand, those people who can’t control their emotions and reactions, suffer. Sharp-tongued people are the ones usually who have these issues.

There will be times in life, when you will be put on the spot. Your patience and everything else will be tested. If that time hasn’t come yet or you haven’t experienced this yet, count yourself lucky. This is one of the worst situations to be in. You will be tortured and forced to react. It will seem like your patience is running out. It will seem like you have no choice but to give in. It will feel like you are alone and there is no one on your side. There will be a lot of anger. There will be a lot of emotions going haywire in the mind. It is these kinds of situations that will really test you and your whole existence. It is your reaction to this kind of situation and the action taken after this situation occurs, which will truly make you learn a lesson, have an experience for life and a memory, which will keep on reminding you of what happened and how you shouldn’t let it happen again.

If you come out of it by not reacting to it violently and maintaining the usual decorum in your life, then you are a really strong person. If after such things have happened, you choose to take positive action against it and try to solve the reasons as to why it happened, then you are a good person; then you are a person who is in control and is responsible. If for example, a situation occurred because of ‘someone’ and, you still forgive them? Then you are the bigger and better person. You should be proud of your existence, even if no one else is.

People usually believe that our actions and reactions are for other people. If you are a good person and you are behaving in a good manner, then it is for other people. It is to impress other people, for example. If you are a bad person, breaking society’s rules etc. then it is to show other people too. How you don’t care about anyone and that you are so cool and bad. Wrong. Don’t be good for other people, first and foremost what and who matters is, yourself. Be good for yourself. Think how your actions and reactions are going to reflect on you. Think how they are going to shape you and what kind of a person you would be. Think whether how you would be, is how you wanted to see yourself or not.

Employ self-compassion. Treat yourself good, be good and it will help you react in similar ways too. Self-compassion will help you get through difficult times and it will help you to treat and react to a situation differently, then how you might have dealt with it. If you love yourself, you wouldn’t want to harm yourself. In that case, you wouldn’t do anything stupid and that would show in your actions and reactions. Research has shown that self-compassion makes us more resilient, helps us deal with situations better, we have greater psychological wellbeing and also, more compassion towards others.

It is all well and good to think in a better different way and reflect that in our reactions, but it is easier said than done. It is hard to control an emotion like anger. It is hard to control our reactions to few things in life, especially things which occur due to extraneous factors over which we have no control. It is human nature to get angry over something which we don’t have control over. It is human nature to get angry and frustrated when we fear something and in certain situations, we do fear lack of control and feel helpless. Actions and reactions are a vital part of the learning process of our practical life and should be given importance. You should always think about how you are going to react to something and what action you are going to take. Your life and where it goes, depends on it.

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