Our Addiction to Reaction
It can feel good to get carried away by the emotion of something, and I will argue this is often our preference. We WANT to get carried away. We feel emboldened by it. For a moment, our emotions are in charge and are leading us into action with significant momentum behind them.
The emotion might be when we fall "head over heals" in love, or when we feel outraged by someone or something. In each case, we give over our conscious mind to instinct. It feels good, but is it?
A strong emotional reaction makes choices for us. It's part of the reason why we love it. We don't have to consciously take on that burden. We act based on pre-determined programming. Maybe that person you're in love with isn't a good fit but something about them is familiar or attractive to you. And maybe you misunderstood someone's action and haven't taken the time to clarify, or to understand. Where does that get you?
When we pause during strong emotion, get curious and ask questions, we give our conscious mind a chance to awaken and engage.
"I feel this. Why do I feel this? What's my default reaction to this feeling? Am I using anger, apathy, frustration, blame, blind hope, or blind tolerance to quickly deal with this situation? Do I feel uncomfortable? What am I doing to make the uncomfortable feelings go away? Do I feel justified? How healthy our my justifications really?"
The goal is to get to a level emotional state where you can create space for your head and also your heart (not the same thing that is causing the emotions - think intuition, inner guidance, higher self) to weigh in and be a part of the decision making process.
Instinct is FAST. Conscious choice is slow.
Instinct is FAST. Conscious choice is slow. If you find yourself rushing, obsessive, almost manic, absolute, or on the flip side defeatist and overwhelmed, slow down. Wait to act. Wait to decide what you think. Ask yourself how you can see this more clearly - more openly. Ask how can you act with more anabolic energy (i.e. self-care, care for others, opportunity-minded, seeing synergy and connection). And ask if you are making something personal that just is - in other words, it isn't happening TO you, it's just happening.
Take whatever "it" is and give yourself some distance, some space to see it clearly. Find the calm, wholistic perspective.
Let me be clear - It doesn't mean you should poo poo on your parade or toss enthusiasm out the door. And it doesn't mean you should find joy or positivity in an awful situation. Anger and hope can be valid responses. It just means CHOOSE to be excited or angry about things, and choose how to best respond rather than let your instinct decide for you.
Self-empowerment is found in choice - not in an addiction to reaction.