Life is an unending string of stimuli. Stimuli can include things like interactions with others—“events” and people. These interactions may be anticipated—e.g. a planned conversation, or unanticipated—e.g. someone cutting you off in traffic.
But, either way, stimuli all fall into one of two major categories….
- 1. Things that occur the way you prefer, and
- 2. Things that do not occur the way you prefer
When we are on “automatic,” we consistently resist the stimuli not occurring the way we prefer, and that triggers reactivity in some form or fashion. And reactive, defensive triggering shrinks the space between stimulus and response to basically nothing.
The question is how to transform our normal reactive “no space” response to a larger space that affords the opportunity to respond mindfully. At first blush, this feels like an impossible task—how do we interrupt habits of relating that have been developed and operating in us from childhood—habits that we have iterated hundreds of thousands of times over the course of our life?
The answer includes the work of a lifetime. But, it starts with desire…a desire to interrupt what keeps you stuck in age-old patterns and transform the way you interact in these triggering moments.
Today, consider what attitudes you notice in yourself and others that keep you stuck in reactivity. What do you notice?