Thought #46. Poised to react.

A reaction is what you do, say or think as a result of something that has happened. Every time we react to an event or situation, not only our personality is reflected but also our perception of the outer world. In other words, we show who we are by means of our behaviour. But, is it that simple? Can we judge others by their reactions?

The short answer would be no. Imagine that you are a wannabe writer and you show your latest unfinished short story to a good friend who is an avid reader. You might expect a truly informed opinion or a thorough critique but, maybe it just so happens that your friend is not in the mood because of a recent read on child abuse. That read has just provoked so dramatic an impact on him that your friend’s first reaction to the draft is not just negative, but almost violent: “This is bullshit”.

Must you rethink your entire writing career? No, you must not. The same story would have triggered an enthusiastic and positive response only if the timing of the events had been different. The message I am trying to convey is that we often overplay the significance of extreme reactions, both positive and negative. Would it not be better if we took them with a pinch of salt?

However, the mechanism of judging others is purely based on our careful observation of such reactions and therefore, we cannot help but be always poised to answer, with honesty, to the world that surrounds us. That way, we will do, say or think what we really meant, projecting a more accurate image of ourselves and making ourselves better known.