On Reactions

Here’s one of the biggest payoffs for thought training: becoming less reactionary.

Think of all the knee-jerk reactions you have in a day. Here’s one: your son asks for the fourth time if you’ll take him by his favorite fast food place for dinner. You go from zero to sixty in less than a second: “I told you about ten times we are NOT going out to eat. Quit asking!”  

Now he is grumpy and you are furious and annoyed and exhausted. That reaction to his question, even if it was not the first time he’d asked it, drained you. What drives the drama, and why does it tire us so easily?

Being almost entirely unconscious of the cascading thoughts that are happening in a split second, it seems surprising that we actually can put a microscope there. Let’s do it by asking ourselves three simple questions to find out more about the root of the issue. The three questions are bolded below.

First, why did you get so upset? Because he’d asked me that many times already. And I’d already said no.

So what? He is annoying me when he asks a question I’ve already answered!

I understand the No answer, but why the blowup? Why the drama and exhaustion? He shouldn’t make me tell him over and over again. He should leave me alone!

What are you making it mean that he asks for things he wants over and over?

It means he is not happy.

It means that I am a bad mom. 

It means he is a terrible child that won’t ever be happy with what I give him.

It means I cannot both make him happy and stay within my budget.

It means he is a spoiled child that thinks he can beg to get what he wants.

It means I have not taught him well. And that means I’m a failure. 


Friends, it’s no wonder we fly off the handle. Small incidents carry potential for exposing our largest fears.  But keep putting that microscope on those moments of “losing it.” The more we expose our fears, the more we can work with dismantling them. I promise! 

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