Emotional Responsiveness vs Emotional Reactiveness

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, or have been to one of my coaching sessions, you’re already aware of how our thoughts create our emotions.

We already understand that in order to feel something, first we must focus on the thoughts going on inside our mind.

If you buy into what’s being said, then you will instantaneously feel something.

Every emotional state that you will ever find yourself in– every feeling will always stem from an initial thought.

How we feel will then influence what we say or how we act next. Feelings determine our actions.

Our level of maturity will always determine whether we react emotionally or whether we respond rationally.

Reactions are emotional. Responses are rational.

Rational responses are well considered. Emotional reactions are sporadic and immature.

Responsiveness is very different from reacting. When we respond, it means we are taking complete control of the process.

We don’t have to react or respond at all. If someone is choosing to behave in a completely disrespectful, dishonest, immature, or unintegral way, that’s a reflection on them.

So it’s entirely up to you whether you choose to play an active part in their immaturity or whether you simply respond and walk away.

If someone says something to you that is disrespectful and immature, you can choose to respond in this way:

If you want this conversation to continue, then we have a few minutes here to bring this conversation back to a place of maturity, respectfulness, and honesty. If the next words out of your mouth are dishonest, disrespectful, or immature, the conversation is over. Are we clear?

No one else is responsible or to blame for what you do or what you say.

Your actions, behaviors, emotional responses or reactions are your responsibility.

Most people are unwilling to take responsibility for the past they play and the problems that they face.

If someone is unwilling to take responsibility for the part they’re playing in actively shaping their life, through the actions they take, then there’s nothing you can do.

It’s the outcomes of the actions we take that causes us problems in life.

The outcomes we have will lead to further thoughts, which will lead to further emotions, etc. This can become a completely viscious circle.

The only choices anyone ever has are in relation to their actions and responses in relation to their feelings.

Emotional Experiment

Think about the last problem you had. And follow this process:

What was the first thought in your head?

What emotion(s) did they provoke?

Did you react emotionally or did you respond rationally?

What actions did you take or not take?

What did you say? What did you do?

What was the outcome?

Was the outcome something you wanted or didn’t want?


The quality of our lives will always be determined by how well we learn to play the inner game.

If you listen to the insults of someone else, you’re naturally going to feel pretty bad about yourself IF you buy into and fundamentally agree with what it is that they’re saying.

Sometimes the feelings and emotions can spring on us and catch us off guard. But if we understand the extent of the choices that we have in relation to how it is that we choose to respond or react to the thoughts we have- we can use our feelings to draw us out of thoughts because we don’t have to stay focused on that thing.

Establish what is true in the moment.

Do I want to lose control? Do I want to do something that’s going to damage my relationship? Do I want to lose their trust?

If the answer is no, then act accordingly. Take complete personal reponsibility.

When you’re in a low emotional state, and you feel like your self-worth is plummeting, shake yourself out of it. What are you thinking? If you don’t like the feeling associated with the thought, then go back in your head. Which thought started the derail? Are you comparing yourself to someone else? What story are you telling yourself? “I’m not as good as you”?

If we don’t control our emotions and emotional states, our emotions end up controlling us. This is how people end up in prisons, cheating on their partners, ripping off their friends and family members, screwing up their businesses, etc.

People compromise their standards when they’re living and making decisions impulsively upon emotions. When they’re reacting to their emotional states.

You can be the best version of yourself or you can choose to play small. The world hasn’t come to experience you in your fullness yet. Who are you going to be?


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