What's your knee jerk reaction?

by Erica Quam

We all have 'this place' that our mind goes first when obstacles or challenges come up in our lives. This 'place' is based on our own personal beliefs and our past experiences in life. 

A powerful exercise is to observe your immediate reaction to the things that happen in your life. Where does your mind go first? What's the story you tell yourself?

Let's say that you've been rear-ended in a car accident. What's your immediate reaction?

Do you a) get angry - shouting obscenities and shaking your fists in the air? b) first worry about the people in the other car, wondering if they are okay? c) Are you immediately fearful that you did something wrong? or d) Do you keep things bottled up - showing absolutely no reaction at all...so the people in the car with you have NO idea what you are thinking?

There are people who are wired to believe they are the victim in life. That things in their life will always go wrong. Some people are ready to take the blame - assuming that they must have done something wrong. Other people are quick to blame or judge others and are always pointing the finger to someone else before considering their role in the situation.

Our knee jerk reactions - that happen "in the moment" - are harder to change than our reactions after we've taken a deep breath. Once we take that breath we can ask ourselves, okay, what's the REAL story here? What really happened and what will my outcome be? 

When you can take a deep breath, you realize that no matter what your first reaction was...you get the opportunity to respond for the best outcome possible. This is where the real growth takes place. 

If something doesn't work out the way that you were hoping it would,

  1. Take a moment to observe your immediate reaction.  
  2. Pause and take a deep breath.
  3. Ask yourself: will my immediate reaction get me the best result as I move forward?
  4. If not, how can I CHOOSE a better reaction so that I can have a better outcome?

There are times in our lives where maybe we put an intention out into the universe. For that intention to become a reality, bigger and better things are supposed to happen. To align ourselves to a new reality, our current comfortable path has to change. We face obstacles and challenges that may actually be detours to get us to that better place that we intended. When we can take a moment to pause and recognize that, we bring our power back - instead of giving it away.

So instead of going along with that old story you tell yourself, or sticking with that knee jerk reaction learn about yourself.

This is especially important at the beginning of a new year, when you've set intentions on what you want to happen for you this year: who you want to become, what you want to create, or the things you want to bring into your life.

This week, observe your immediate reactions AND pause to take that breath. This can be a powerful tool for your personal growth!

Share your ah ha's and thoughts in the comments below.