How we react to the circumstances we encounter is what matters most. We probably act effectively when circumstances are in our favour.
However, when circumstances go against us chances are we do not react well. We can benefit from understanding how we react to negative circumstances and why they occur. The many potential reactions include:
- Complaining: to your friends, yourself, the world in general, perhaps through blogs like this, higher-ups in the organization, and your God that things aren’t fair or right.
- Blaming or looking for someone to blame: sometimes without proof or justification; sometimes just to rant; sometimes we go way back in history; some curse their astrological sign.
- Making excuses: what an appropriate chance to explain why we aren’t getting where we should be or want to be. “Because” signals the circumstance that’s holding us back. Because of the good neighborhood we cannot move (even though we can have a much better life somewhere else), or because of the kids’ school, or all the shopping and entertainment close by.
- Ignoring: just walking away from it as if it hasn’t happened; pretending it really didn’t happen could be a good strategy, especially if it never happens again; perhaps “ignorance is bliss”, perhaps not.
- Feeling sorry for yourself: spending too much time sulking, convinced that you are a “victim” with no recourse.
- Waiting: maybe it will go away; maybe it will correct itself; maybe someone else will fix it; maybe “This too will pass” is the best attitude.
- Hanging on: how many people do you know that have experienced some event and have kept that event alive in their heart as if it happened minutes ago?
- Procrastinating: this is one of my favourites; I rationalize it by working on something else that I think is more important while in fact it’s something I just enjoy more; I’ll deal with the other less enjoyable thing later, when I can’t avoid it.
- Changing it: choosing to figure out how to alter the circumstance to something better; the 19 rules of effective living helped me to change from “obese” to “normal” body weight based on BMI.
- Accepting: deciding to learn how to live with a circumstance you cannot change, such as an autistic child; once again, the 19 rules of effective living are bound to help.
- Asking for help: sometimes hard to do, being as proud as we are, but the right help can clear things up quickly.
- Praying: maybe some things just can’t be fixed by us; maybe your God can help you bear with it;
In the short or long-term, these reactions can be viewed as effective or ineffective, positive or negative. They may lead to new and different circumstances, which again may be positive or negative. The objective should be to eventually achieve a better, happier, more satisfying situation. Future posts will discuss why this is not always so easy.
Our lives are defined not by the challenges we encounter but by how we respond to those challenges.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie, Author, Speaker, Personal Coach, Lover of Life, and Philosopher of Happiness