How to Unplug the Depend on Reaction App: Choose!

The Depend on Reaction App loops these messages: "Interrupting demonstrates care." "Advice always helps." "I know what's wrong with you." "Come on, argue it out." "Let's discuss what's wrong with our latest problem person." "Here is another great injustice I endured."

The Depend on Reaction App trumps and enables all others: I have lost myself in the system so much that all I can do is react. I say "I can't help it." With this app I am sucked into all the others and prevented from understanding or escaping without wounds.

The air in systemic anxiety is deadly serious. Those captured by it invade and don't stop. They commandeer other's conversations, space, attention, projects, and even thoughts and choices, if they can.  Before interacting, know the answer to the question, What do I really want?

To unplug the Depend on Reaction App, choose your own responses! You do not have to react in the time, place, or way that is expected. Reaction is what comes automatically and reactions spawn reactions. Response is what can be thoughtfully chosen and favorably presented.

In high dependence on reaction, some are obviously poor listeners and do not learn better. Others use good listening to know what the other person wants and automatically do it. Instead, I can listen to myself with that same good listening, and claim my space for my chosen response.

To disable the fourth app that powers systemic anxiety, choose my own responses. I can carve out time to think. I can talk to a sane friend. I can dream. I can listen to myself. I can write and role-play the conversation. I can choose my own responses!

If the Depend on Reaction App seems impossible to interrupt, a small step might be to ask someone to listen in a neutral way for one hour as I sort what I feel and believe. A smaller, previous step might be to make lists: things to think through, and things for which to choose my own responses.

Some of the ideas in this article came from: Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. New York: Seabury Books, 1999, 2007.

Copyright 2015 Wilma Zalabak