in: Intentional Living

Do You Engage or React? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

How you handle everyday moments can give insight on how mindfully you’re living. Do you engage or react to what’s around you? Start with these easy questions.


Many of our responses in our relationships are habitual

You have learned how to act and respond to others over decades of training with family, friends, teachers, co-workers, employees, strangers and every other human with whom you have interacted.

Not sure what your habituated behaviors might be? Ask yourself these questions:

1. When you pull in to a gas station and there is a stranger on the other side of the pump what do you do?
2. When you receive an email from a potential love interest, how do you respond?
3. When said potential love interest expresses deep fondness for you after just, say, four dates, what might engage?

Question #1 Gas Station Etiquette

Are you a person who is all business in getting gas or do you look around, make eye contact, smile quietly and give a wave to other gas station patrons? 

There are no right answers here, but even these simple ways of engaging with others are habituated patterns that you have developed over timemaybe for good reason (you were mugged at a gas station once) or maybe just out of routine (you never really thought about it, and hey, does it really matter?). Take the time and notice if you are engaging in the present moment (read: letting the moment be fresh or new) or if you are reacting and going through the motions.

Question #2 Potential Love Interest Email

When you receive an email from a potential love interest (like on MeetMindful) do you respond immediately? Are you a person who considers each word that you write? Do you feel pressure or obligation to respond quickly (to show interest) or are you more likely to give a more measured response (to demonstrate self-restraint or aloofness)? 

Bringing some gentle awareness and attention to how you respond will give you a lot of information about who you areand what messages you are wanting to give the people around you. And, more interesting still, you will allow you to infuse to vitality in the new relationships that you are forging!

Question #3 Potential Love From Love Interest

When you read question #3 you might have had a quick or even visceral response. You might have thought, Ugh. Four dates and already expressing their feelingsthat guy is needy!or I would love it if someone said that they really liked me after just a few dates! I want that!You might have even had a physical response like your stomach feeling sick or a flash of a memory from a past lover who behaved in this way.

The point of this exercise is to become aware of your quick response (reaction) so that you can choose an engaged response (fresh choice). Your fresh choice might be the same of the reaction that you have built over timebut it might also be a bit different. When you become present to how you engage in relationships in both the big and the small ways, you are then empowered to create the relationships that you wantin this momentand not in reaction to past moments.

[image: via Philo Nordlund on flickr]

About the Author:

Jenny Glick

Jenny Glick is a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of the Counseling Center of Cherry Creek in Denver, Colorado. Jenny provides straight-talking relationship coaching online and in-person therapy at her Denver location. An avid CrossFitter and urban chicken farmer, Jenny lives with her husband of 14+ years and teenage son who keep her humble in her work. Download her free report, ‘5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship Now’. Follow her weekly blog, follow her on Twitter, or Facebook.

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