Take a Time Out and Tame Your Reactions

Taming a Reactive Personality

Fighting Couple
Reactive Situation. Uli Pfeiffer / Getty Images

Button pushers LOVE to push our buttons.

Actually, this is probably not an accurate statement. For anyone who is hyper-reactive it may feel accurate though. If you are easily frustrated or are quick to react then it is probably a good idea to learn how to stop projecting your reactions and, don't react. Take a step back whenever you begin to feel pressure from those emotional button pushers.

Most of the time, the button-pushing is more about them than you----but now always (scroll down to the end of this article to find out if IT IS ABOUT YOU).

Be Responsive Rather Than Reactive

A situation may require a response, but being responsive is not the same as being reactive. Parents discipline their toddlers with "time outs" whenever they misbehave or any time they are having difficulty containing or managing their emotions. Similarly, you can also give yourself a time out whenever you feel those reactive emotions bubbling up inside before they surface as an angry outburst. You may feel good in the moment... letting off steam. But, it is likely that later on you are going to regret losing your cool. Feelings of shame or embarrassment of your REACTION may well haunt you. Better to resist the temptation to react negatively. There are healthier ways to vent your feelings.

Acknowledge Reactive Behaviors

Reactive behaviors cannot be changed unless they are first acknowledged. Notice which individuals (relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and others) tend to be around when your explosive feelings erupt. Also, take note of the types of situations irritate, frustrate, or anger you. Instead of blaming the other person or giving your power over to a situation pull back and try to look at the circumstance differently Take on the stance of a bystander. In other words, take yourself out of the equation. The bystander seldom gets emotional, he isn't normally reactive, although he might raise his eyebrows or be slightly amused at the antics of others.

Keep Your Perceptions in Check

Most things people do or say are not meant as personal attacks. Unfortunately we can wrongly perceive them to be. Your sister-in-law didn't show up to the family reunion with a made-from-scratch apple pie to make your store-bought banana cake look bad. She didn't! And what if she did? So what? Be the bigger person, simmer down, and don't react. Pull back, take a deep breath. Tell her how delicious her pie is (if you like it) otherwise don't say anything. Meanwhile, enjoy spending time with your family. The reunion is not about the food, and for sure the family unit doesn't need the drama.

Sleep On It

Certainly, there will be times when you feel that you cannot stay silent and that what you perceive as an injustice or another type behavior that needs to addressed. Certainly, no one is asking you to be a doormat and always turn the other cheek. In most circumstances you can approach the offending person later on after you have sorted things out in your head. After you become more aware of why you feel the way you do perhaps suggest a time to talk about your differences in a neutral setting. If a one-to-one conversation is likely to go nowhere, perhaps a mediator or ally needs to be present. Remember, in history, each dueling gentleman employed a second for possible resolution, also to assure that if a duel did take place, that it was done fairly and honestly.

A less re-active person is a happier one. Now this is probably a truer statement. 

What if It is All About You?

How do you know when your buttons are being pushed by actions or comments made by other people if it is about you or about them?

Some people are blatant about their dramas, and it doesn't take a genius to learn not to get too worked up by their antics. A drama queen thrives on attention, you can feed them or not, it's your choice. But, it is better not to buy into their dramas and wear them as a personal cloak. Be careful not to become a sponge taking on other people's emotions. It's not your job to mop up problems that aren't yours.

But, don't be so ready to disregard irritating comments made by button pushers. Drama queen or not, a button pusher personality may unknowingly be serving you as a mirror. Mirrors are unconscious spiritual teachers who help us see the bigger picture and learn awareness of our personal issues that need worked on.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Desy, Phylameana lila. "Take a Time Out and Tame Your Reactions." Learn Religions, Sep. 9, 2021, learnreligions.com/tame-your-reactive-personality-1729607. Desy, Phylameana lila. (2021, September 9). Take a Time Out and Tame Your Reactions. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/tame-your-reactive-personality-1729607 Desy, Phylameana lila. "Take a Time Out and Tame Your Reactions." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/tame-your-reactive-personality-1729607 (accessed May 30, 2023).