Which means that every single day we experience events (some significant, some not so much) which we can either react to, or we can respond to.
In most cases a reaction is based in fear, whereas when we respond it’s a more conscious and deliberate action. One that allows us to up our game and see the event in question from a higher perspective.
Realistically, and especially if (like myself) you lean towards the upper regions of the sensitivity scale, being able to consciously respond to an event is often not possible in the moment.
Nope, when we panic we react. End of story.
Let me share an example from my recent fun-filled existence..
When I was out for my daily amble with my two pooches (yup, there’s a theme here – see my previous blog), we were unpleasantly accosted by two VERY unfriendly big black dogs who’d snuck out of their property when the owners had left the gate open.
Did I mention they were big and aggressive?? Really big and aggressive?
Did I also mention that my two fur-babies are small and elderly?
As we all locked eyes on each other, I realised there was no time to retreat and no place to hide.
As they launched themselves in our direction, I had enough time to haul my own two up – one under each arm – and brace myself for impact.
Now I believe that dogs can smell fear but my only fear was for my two much smaller babies, and both were relatively safe as long as I could hold them up (they weigh-in at 22 pounds apiece so there was definitely a time limit on this). Which means that I felt fiercely protective with an underlying anger bubbling up at how careless the owners had been.
I won’t bore you with the details but a few well placed kicks (as they leapt at me and no, they weren’t hurt) and many ferociously yelled words of warning had them high-tailing it away relatively quickly.
Which is when my adrenalin rush dwindled and the three of us literally collapsed in a heap.
It wasn’t pretty.
My pups thought it was great fun were eager and energised, ready for more.
I, on the other hand, felt mildly traumatized and ready for sweet tea and a lie-down.
Seriously though, it was an experience that invoked an adrenalin-infused fight-or-flight reaction. There was no space for a chosen response.
BUT, in the subsequent hours, I did get to re-visit and choose how I wanted to feel about it.
When I allowed thoughts of anger, resentment and “scary what if’s” to flow through my addled mind, I felt disempowered and fearful (and I HATE feeling disempowered and fearful).
So I pulled up my big-girl panties and decided to radically shift my perspective on the whole event.
Instead of feeling victimized and lucky to have escaped unharmed, I decided to embrace the fierce, brave and bold version of myself.
The version that will stop at nothing to protect my beloved pups.
The version that’s strong and invincible.
Yup. Bring it..!! (picture me in super-hero pose with laser-eyes and grim lips)
Jokes aside, consciously choosing that version of the experience has shifted my energy completely.
When I get home from that walk, I was angry and ready to drive to the property and yell obscenities at the owners – finger wagging vigorously!
Instead, the empowering fierce-chick version makes me smile and feel brave and capable.
Being aware that we can choose how we feel is a message I share regularly, I know.
But just imagine the possibilities if we fully embraced that concept?
We have access to an infinite number of perspectives in any given moment, so why stick with one that creates feelings of anger, fear or hatred?
It’s like choosing to be unhappy.
And that’s just silly, right?