Owning your Reactions

Part of managing conflict is managing your reactions. We often blame others for what happens to us, failing to recognize that we can control how we react to challenging situations. 

You’re the only person who can own your reactions.

What would you do if I punched you in the face? Would you blame me for punching you? Would you punch me back? Too often, we overlook owning our reactions. We blame others for how we react.

“You punched me in the face?”

“I’m going to punch you back.”

No one forces you to punch back. You must take responsibility for your actions. We all should. One of our biggest cultural failures is our refusal to take responsibility for how we react to life’s events.

Owning our reactions requires reframing. No one makes us upset. We choose to be upset. We can blame others for their actions, but we cannot blame them for our reactions.

You didn’t punch someone because they punched you first. You punched someone because you decided to take a swing. To own our reactions, we must practice. A lot. 

Stop blaming!

Who do you want to own your feelings? How often do you hear someone use as an excuse,

“…because that’s how my parents raised me?”

Or

“my partner doesn’t let me…?”

It’s easy to blame the past or present circumstances for our reactions. Often, we feel that we have very little control of what happens in our lives. Everyone has experienced some sort of trauma in their lives. Trauma is subjective, and everyone experiences it differently. But, do you want past trauma to control current self?

If we blame how we treat others on how our parents treated us, we give our parents control of our feelings. For some reason, it became socially and culturally acceptable to blame everything on our parents, skipping ownership.

We can shape our lives however we want without blaming someone else. We must OWN our reactions by reframing how we think.

Affirmation to ownership

I believe that affirming our feelings and responses to situations can help us own our reactions.

For example, if you are a road rager (I know you are, which is why I drive as little as possible), find why those feelings of rage consume you on the road. Is it because you fear that other drivers are intentionally trying to harm you? Or is it because you believe that other drivers are terrible? Or not paying attention? Do you other drivers based on arbitrary signals like car color or type? Road rage is a failure own reactions.

Start owning reactions by identifying the feelings associated with the reactions. For road rage, think about why you feel rage. If you can find why you feel rage, then put yourself in the other driver’s shoes.

How many times have you made a mistake while driving? Missed a turn and swerved quickly? Sped up to catch a light? Slammed on your brakes to avoid hitting something?

You have limited perspective compared to everything that’s happening while you’re on the road. Of course, there are objectively poor drivers out there. However, most are average drivers, like you are, who react to events on the road. Like you do.

The difference is that we forget about how complex driving is and make assumptions. We allow strangers to control our feelings.

Time to Reframe

If we let strangers control our feelings on the road, where else might that happen? At work? At home? Reframing how we think and react to situations will open a huge can of worms. We might learn that we are in less control than we thought. And that’s okay.

The only thing we can control is our own feelings and reactions. We can’t control other drivers, the weather, our parents, our bosses. We can only own ourselves. So, start. Start owning your reactions. Start reframing.

Need Help?

I wouldn’t be a great contributor to society if I were not willing to help. Book an appointment with me, today, to start controlling how you react to situations around you.