Respond and responsible have the same Latin root [re 'again', spondere 'to promise']. You can respond when you take responsibility. This is a decision that you are accountable for your circumstances, which doesn't mean you're to blame.
Without taking responsibility, you pretend your contribution has had no effect, and such self sabotage makes you unable to respond. Yet no matter what you have or haven't done, it has affected the situation!
Being responsible is a key element to effect any change you wish to make. To change your life, take responsibility. This stance enables you to stop reacting and start responding. Then your part in changing it becomes more effective, and you achieve more favourable results.
The word react comes from re-act, to act again, to act as you did last time. A reaction just repeats the past, it's often emotionally based and therefore immediate. There's neither thinking, nor exploring alternatives, nor considering the repercussions.
A reaction is often described as knee-jerk, which is entirely accurate. Hit your knee in the right place and it jerks immediately, you have no say in the matter. Your subconscious programming reacts predictably, rather than you acting consciously.
This is not to say there's anything wrong in reacting. It will give you the same results as before, of course, since it's your self sabotage mechanism in action. Reacting the same as last time won't change your life.
A response, in contrast, is entirely appropriate to the circumstances. First you think about the alternatives, then you consider their consequences. You may even consider where the consequences might take you and the effect they will have on the result you're trying to achieve.
Creating such a response will bring you more harmony in the long-term because the current situation is included. You listen to the moment and act accordingly. You have control over your response, you're being more aware.
You're not just repeating the past, even if your actions are the same, because you're creating from a different place. You're responding to the now - the current moment - rather than to what happened before.
This increased awareness will serve you well in the long-term, even if you don't get the results desired. Finding out what doesn't work can be even more valuable than finding out what does. Learning something can change your life, since you know how to do better next time. Then your awareness grows.
Becoming more aware is the name of the game. When you're more aware of what's important, no matter what it is, then you're more likely to succeed.
"Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change."
- Steven Covey, University Professor, MBA, ten honorary doctorates, author: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
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