Sep 14

Relationship Advice – Tip of the Week

Got Stress in your [tag-tec]Relationship[/tag-tec]?

relationship tension

Do you want to relieve some of the [tag-tec]stress and tension in your relationships[/tag-tec]? If so… Learn the difference between reacting to a situation and responding to it. You might ask, why would this make any difference to me ?

Reacting versus Responding

We say this over and over again, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice. Almost every time I find myself upset, frustrated, or confused about my relationships, if I look close enough, I always discover that I’m reacting unconsciously to something that’s happening in the situation. This unconscious reaction has become a habitual pattern–created from my old negative limiting beliefs. When I discovered that over 50% of all my stress and tension came from the fact that I was reacting rather than responding in situations I was able to start down the path to creating more [tag-tec]happy, healthy satisfying relationships[/tag-tec].

So what’s the difference between reacting in responding…

In the Art of Conscious Connection eCourse, we define reacting, re-enacting past behavior based on my habitual patterns and limiting beliefs, opposed to responding–which we define as, the ability to take respon-sibility for what occurs and make conscious choices about what to do and how we want to act.

How do you begin taking respon-sibility?

The first and easiest step to start practicing responding rather than reacting is to notice how you feel–am I tense, uncomfortable, irritated… As soon as you notice any emotion that is less than enjoyable, STOP and ask yourself these questions: “Am I about to do or say something that I might regret? Is there something I want to consciously do or say in the situation that is different than I was about to do?

You might be surprised at how differently things start to go in your relationships.

As Einstein said, the definition of Insanity is, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Until next time…

with love and a commitment to your happiness


4 Responses to “Relationship Advice – Tip of the Week”

  1. Kim says:

    This is an interesting view, Beth. I think that it would be difficult in the heat of the moment to assess what questions to ask yourself when all you want to do is ask questions of the other party. The self-assessment piece of this, in my opinion, happens after the drama. We are human being who have to sometimes learn when to be responsive rather than reactive. It’s not always easy and the mastery of self is a ongoing process that our “relationships” helps us to achieve through our interaction with them. It would be wonderful if everything were just black and white, but it isn’t — there are too many shades of gray…

    • Neill Gibson says:

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for the comment. We agree that the “self-assessment piece usually happens after the drama”. However, if you want to begin to learn “to be responsive rather than reactive”, its a good idea to make sure your analysis yields some insight you can use the next time a similar situation arises.

      The main point we hoped to get across in this article is that in the heat of the moment you always do better if you slow down. One way to practice slowing down is to develop a set of “interrupt” behaviors. In this case the behavior we suggest is to ask yourself a few internal questions that refocus you attention on what you do want, rather than staying focused on your fear or anger. We find this works for people because, without exception, what you focus your attention on will grow. So why not focus on what you want?


  2. Jill Hansen says:

    This is so true. My boyfriend and I fight all the time because we both tend to react instead of respond. Our emotions get so caught up in the moment, that all rational though flies out the window. Your article certainly helped in pointing out solutions to this problem. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Florian says:

    Hmm.. when I read “reacting vs responding” it made me thing – actually, neither. Well sure, you need to know how to respond properly. But isn’t the key to a healthy relationship that you invest so much time and love on a day-to-day basis that you have the kind of buffer that lets you survive the next fight?