Reaction

Smiley face reactions - apathy, anger, pleasant

(Images by samth1815)

When something bad happens, we react.

How we react to the bad thing is important and will directly affect us and those around us.

We typically either “blow off…blow up…or…reach out.”

One reaction is to pretend the bad thing is no big deal.

Or maybe we recognize it as a big deal, but believe it is inevitable.

In those cases, we are tempted to “blow it off.”

“Oh well.”

Fatalism.

It is what it is.

Another reaction is to respond with rage.

“Somebody” or “somebodies” are the devil in disguise.

They. Must. Pay.

In those cases, we are tempted to “blow it up.”

“Oh h-e-double-toothpicks!”

Vigilantism.

String ‘em up!

But what if instead of feeling there is either a) nothing to be done or b) revenge, threats and vilification are the only things to be done…

What if – instead – we chose to c) reach out and build relationships?

Relationships with those who were harmed or affected by the bad thing.

Relationships with those whose actions contributed to the bad thing.

What if instead of blowing it off or blowing it up, we reached out with reasoned determination and vision, offering our time, attention and creativity to the process of fixing the conditions that allowed the bad thing to happen in the first place?

To be honest, many of us go through stages of both the “blow it off” and “blow it up” reactions.

That’s normal.

And it’s OK.

But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get stuck there.

What if more of us took the trouble to get to the “reach out” reaction?

What then?

Then perhaps responsible parties would be held accountable (with appropriate due process);

those who have been harmed would receive help and restoration; and

the conditions for the future would be improved.

When something bad happens, we react.

Exactly how we react is a choice.

Blowing it off doesn’t help. The problem won’t go away.

Blowing it up isn’t very effective. There will be no systemic or long term change.

Reaching out.

That choice will make all the difference.

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