The reactions of those around us have a great impact on how we feel. Reciprocally our reaction to an event or information has an impact on others. Sometimes these reactions are helpful and sometimes…they are not.
As a teacher, I learned very quickly that my reactions dramatically impacted the outcome of events. Remaining calm and responding rather than reacting always worked better. This is not always achieved however and sometimes, I will admit, I have reacted with sarcasm or harsh consequences rather than responded with calm problem solving strategies. Any teachers reading this would agree, I’m sure, that some days you just aren’t ready to deal with blatant defiance, being called names, having stationary thrown at you or dealing with the ongoing ‘she looked at me’ sagas and remain calm and composed. Some days, teachers REACT! I’m not proud of myself when I do this and neither is any other teacher that I’ve ever come across but we are human after all and we have a tough gig. Don’t be so hard on yourself guys, you’re doing just great!
Reactions in the workplace are one thing but what about reactions in our personal lives? Oftentimes it is easier to control our reactions in the workplace because we have to be professional or we have to save face or we straight out don’t care enough to react. When it comes to our personal lives though, it becomes a bit more difficult but it is just as important.
Our experiences, values and beliefs as well as our attitudes all have an impact on our reactions to different situations and different people. When we hear gossip, our first reaction is to listen attentively and contribute. Even if you don’t like to admit it, that is your first reaction right?! It might be the classic eye roll or perhaps the age old “you’re kidding me?” or something similar that you use but you get sucked in at the start. I think we can all be forgiven for this initial trapping because it is human nature but it’s important to stop it before it goes any further. There are several reasons that I believe this to be true.
- Reacting to gossip fuels the fire. By contributing to the story, we make it bigger and better and keep the ball rolling so to speak.
- Our reaction has a direct impact on the gossiper. If our reaction is one of interest and enjoyment, then the one telling the story is going to continue in earnest. However, if you greet the gossip with a neutral reaction, the story teller is more likely to stop telling their tale and move onto something else.
- Gossip is hurtful. Speaking badly about someone when they are not present is not a nice thing to do. I’m not suggesting for a second that I’ve never done this. I have. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is not kind and I try very hard to recognise if/when I’m doing it so I can stop immediately. Believe me, gossip is very hurtful.
- Gossiping puts out negative energy and depletes your energy levels. If you remember that you get back what you put out, you might never get involved in gossip again.
It’s very easy to say that we should all maintain neutral reactions to events and information when there are feelings at stake but in the real world, it’s near impossible to react to every situation sitting in neutral. We are always going to have a reaction but at least if a conscious effort is made to control our reactions when the emotions of people are involved, we have a better chance of helping our energy be positive. I guess the best advice is listen to the Universe and trust yourself.