Posts Tagged ‘react’

the presence of buttons

July 21, 2010

No, I am not going to talk about clothing. I am talking about those invisible emotional triggers many of us have that are intrinsic to our natures.

The problem with these particular buttons is that we know we have them, but often have difficulty finding them without help. Fortunately, there are certain people and events that happen by and push them all the time to help us out. And we think “There it is!” generally the second before we react to the person or the event in unfavorable terms.

I don’t ever remember thanking anyone or blessing any event that has pushed my buttons.

But lately I’ve begun to think that perhaps I should. After all, they are just bringing me to my own attention, because the button is not about the person or what happened. The button is all about me. Me me me me me.

I would like to learn to react less and respond more. There is a very blurry boundary between the meaning of reacting and responding. Me, the slightly-battered-by-life human that I am, tends to react while my true presence, who lives, breathes, and whispers wisdom, prefers to respond.

The dictionary uses each word to define the other. Reacting means “to respond to a stimulus in a particular manner” and “to act in a reverse direction or manner” or “to act in opposition.” There is an emotional and physical component to the definition of reacting. Responding means to “reply or answer in words,” but it is also described as meaning “to exhibit some action or effect . . . react.”

Answering in words is still an emotional and physical action, and often they can be reactionary words. If I am responding to someone with reactionary actions or words, I have forgotten the process of connecting with my true presence (or speeding by it so quickly it could be defined as a slap and run). Anyway, if someone or something has pushed one of my buttons, I often find myself responding from an emotional reaction that probably has nothing to do with the person or the thing. The button, I believe, is some trigger that causes me to project qualities or meanings that belong to me and that I don’t like on to another person’s presence or actions.

I know when it is happening, too. I get this squirmy sort of annoyed irritation inside me who has a voice that says “Let’s teach this person a lesson! Let’s get them to stop doing that!” There are appropriate times when this might work well; for example, with people who are truly threatening my safety or well-being. It doesn’t work so well with people who are interacting with me on a social or professional level and largely just being who they believe themselves to be and/or are unconscious (nearly everybody qualifies for this last way of being).

I can’t always avoid the person or event that will trigger a reaction. The only control I have is over how I respond. If I take a mental and emotional step back and detach a little bit from the situation, I can observe me wanting to pitch a hissy fit, check in with my true presence, and respond in a way that takes better care of me.

It also gives me an opportunity to examine the button more closely from a less emotional place of being and find out what is really going on with me, what I need in this moment, and what I can do to heal and integrate the me whose finger is stuck on that button.

And then I will say “thank you.”

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass