Reaction vs Response

I have always been someone who jumps the gun and reacts to unfamiliar situations. That has led me to react to unexpected situations in manners which were not really thought through. Especially in situations where I was being criticized for something in the workplace or I was under some time pressure I usually had a reaction which I later on regretted. I always felt that it was possibly due to my insecurities about myself which made me react in a certain way. As they say when you have red colour glasses, the whole world appears red. So while my superiors felt that while I had strong reasoning ability and insights into situations, whenever I was pushed into an unfamiliar situation or in moments of pressure I reacted in ways which were not very optimal. Hence this was an important area of improvement for me.

There were several trainings that I had attended which emphasized the importance of thinking clearly in situations and many of them offered several tools to do so. However, they had a severe limitation in that they addressed the cognitive aspect of my personality and did not take a holistic approach. Telling an angry person that anger is bad and saying that counting backwards from 1000 can help addresses the issue only at the surface level. It does not address the core aspect of why that anger gets triggered in the first place. I felt that most if not all of these methods were very sub par ways of dealing with a personality change. I had even tried committing myself to these changes and felt that things were improving but then again a situation would occur and I would be back to square one.

Deep down I always realized that I was getting triggered because I was insecure in that situation. It could be because the person in front would be judging my work and by my twisted logic my consequent worth in the scheme of things. In fact many an organizations encourage this insecurity as it leads to the employees tending to put much more effort to prove a point to themselves. However, I personally feel that over time this type of culture can become toxic. In a way my achievement orientation throughout life had been guided by this sense of insecurity.

Until I got seriously into Yoga, I never realized that my response to situations was in my control. The grace of my Guru and a daily habit of sitting in meditation started slowly unraveling the layers of psychological knots at the energy level. The conditioning that I had from childhood had resulted in certain patterns of thoughts and behavior. With meditation things slowed down to a point where I became aware of the situation and its impact on me. This helped me calibrate my response to the same.The change started off gradually as I tended to worry less and less about negative feedback and started increasing my focus on whether I was doing the right thing. As a result of this shift in my internal mindset my knee jerk reactions to unfamiliar situations reduced as I realized it was not important for me to prove a point to anyone. I started deep diving into situations and taking my time to come up with solutions.

I also used to have anxiety about things in the workplace and used to brood for days on end on someone’s offhand comment which I interpreted as a personal failing. Not a very healthy way to live at all !! However now I don’t really brood over things that much unless the matter can be solved by thinking. This has been nothing short of a miracle for me personally. Despite more and more organizations looking to eastern wisdom for answers I feel that the ancient tools of yoga are still very underestimated and unexplored. Yoga passes off as a stress management system at best in most organizations but it can effectively do a silent and radical transformation from within.

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