Respondinig v/s Reacting


  • We tend to instinctively react to almost anything …. without delay & many times without thinking , though we many not be as quick & good in responding to others
  • The difference is that while reactions happen like a reflex action — almost in a pre-programmed way , Responding needs some thinking  & thinking as we know can be demanding .
  • Reaction can be mostly ‘ external ‘ / surface behaviour , corresponding to some external triggers , whereas responding is an ‘ internal ‘ process , it may not always be triggered externally .
  • Since these trigger induced reactions are deep seated in our minds , in most cases we neither are consciously aware , nor have a direct control on . As a result some of our reactions may not be as we’d have intended ( were we to think about ) & hence may not be serving ‘ our purpose ‘ . Responses on the other hand can be a directed process , well deliberated as against a reaction which can be ‘ involuntary ‘
  • Reacting has to do with our past ; hence it can’t be a mechanism to be in the present , whereas responding can be in cognizance of its possible future impact .
  • Our set of values / beliefs  prompts our triggers & reactions .
    • Greater awareness helps in being conscious of these patterns & affords us an opportunity to think about & choose to retain / modify / drop our reaction .
  • Responding is a thoughtful process . It involves a mix of instinct / intellect / intuition . Processing of our experience , circumstances , our nature & acquired related knowledge is involved in Our response .

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