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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Ede

REACTION OR RESPONSE - What's the Difference?

Reaction or Response – we may not really think that there is much difference between the two but believe me, when you are on the receiving side….. there definitely is!

Reaction is usually like a ‘knee jerk’ effect and is frequently linked very closely to a strong emotion. Similarly to an immediate physical vocalization of ‘OUCH” when we are touched or poked in a painful or injured part of our body!

This will also occur when we are ‘prodded’ in a distressing or highly emotional recollection of experiences or encounters that has caused us pain or hardship in our past! Especially if they have not been sufficiently addressed at the time, or we have subsequently suppressed or buried them deeply within our memory.

We can and very often do lash out at the individual who has given rise to this discomfort or distress!

It is at these very specific times that we really do need to catch ourselves before actually “shooting the messenger”!

From Psychology Today -

“A reaction is instant. It’s driven by the beliefs, biases, and prejudices of the unconscious mind. A reaction is based in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level a defense mechanism.”

Response can be the effect on the same situations but where the brain and the emotions are totally connected, filters are engaged and the issue has been addressed and diffused at the time of the encounter, so that there are no longer any high emotional charges attached."

Makes sense doesn’t it?

SO…..When we are going through particular events, situations, occurrences and experiences, especially those where we do experience those high emotions, (generally to do with esteem, confidence and self worth) we do very much need to take into account not only how we are feeling at the time, but how we may be impacting upon others.

From Psychology Today -

"A response usually comes more slowly. It’s based on information from both the conscious mind and unconscious mind. A response will be more “ecological,” meaning that it takes into consideration the well-being of not only you but those around you. It weighs the long term effects and stays in line with your core values."

Projection can also come from a highly charged emotional reaction and occurs when our filtering system (our brain) and our heart centre are not in agreement (in balance) and out of sync. We can unceremoniously PROJECT what we believe and how we feel onto another – be it deserved or not!

It is merely the picture or interpretation of an experience given outwardly from a perspective that comes from a emotion that is usually one of pain!

This generally arises when we are in full VICTIM mode - a natural and very habitual condition - and we will wish to unload in any way that we can!

Similarly, like releasing a charged cork out of explosive bottle. It just BLOWS its cork and fluid emotions overflow, spilling everywhere!

What would be the interpretation of victim in these circumstances you may ask?

In this case, it is an individual who is feeling helpless, passive and out of control in their understanding of adversity or receipt of ill treatment. They may not be able to accept their own responsibility in their amazing capacity to be the creators of their own destiny and how it can unfold!

RESPONSIBILITY – This particular word can be very charged with great expectations, so when I heard this very different approach I loved it - “what do you determine to be your ABILITY and how will you RESPOND”!

Taking all of the above into consideration, sufficient to state - KNOW that once something is said (and heard) - it cannot be unsaid (or unheard), so be careful!

SO, before unloading, ‘walk a km in another’s shoes’ and imagine just how it would feel to be receiving what is being given. With this in mind, this can give us the ability to think before we speak! Connect your heart and brain to your mouth and BE KIND!

You CAN speak your truth as you see it with compassion and integrity and still get your point across!

A suggestion .... at these times implement exercising yourself in…. before unleashing take a moment in taking 2 very deep breaths and then release slowly. If there is still the great need to explode, take another 2 deep breaths and expel slowly. This gives time for a reaction to become a response, whereby the brain can link in and commence a better and more progressive communication with the incensed emotion. It also oxygenates the body systems, initiating the release of tension and pressure.

Here are some assertive steps that you can take to help in these situations :-

  • Define what the different of reacting and over-reacting mean specifically to you – being aware is the first step to changing the condition!It is okay to feel the emotions and express yourself – just don’t be ‘a bull at a gate’ in doing so!

  • Get to know what sets you off – that is get to know your Triggers.We all have those heightened buttons and there will always be someone who knows exactly how to push it (– generally a relative/parent). Understanding these can lead you to discovering the best way to prevent or divert an over-reaction, so think about the things that really get to you.

  • Breathe Before You Do Anything - When you're feeling that you are getting very close to one of your emotional irritants, the best action you can take, as mentioned above, is make sure you give yourself pause before responding. Taking a moment to breathe and thereby disconnect yourself from the initial reactory source, which will give yourself a chance to get back into a more balanced state of being.

  • Give your Conscious Mind a Chance to Connect - STOP: BREATHE: and NOTICE the changes within you that is rigidity, temperature, heart rate. Keep deep breathing and give yourself a chance to calm down.

  • EXAMINE what just happened rationally and find a way to avoid personalising what happened.

  • ACTION – Communicate with "I" statements (do not blame as that will be the catalyst for a defensive reaction) or remove yourself from the situation.

  • DISCOVER gaining a more balanced Perspective on the Past and the Future. With a better viewpoint and mindset, you should be able to look back at how you've acted, as well assessing outcomes in the future. Assess your personal expectations and see if they are realistic and practical.

  • EXPRESS your emotions safely and with compassion. Be gentle with yourself and Deal with issues as they arise and don't Bottle Up. This will divert any explosions and long experienced resentment.


Introducing myself - I am Virginia Ede and am one half of the human carer and guardian element of Maggies Farm Sanctuary! The other half is my wonderful husband Phil!

Other than my passion for Mother Nature and her Animal Kingdom, my other loves are my 'work' as a qualified Natural Therapies practitioner; 'working WITH our rescue animals in assisting humans on their healing journey and creating new and empowered ways of living life the way that it is meant to be lived.

I have achieved Diploma Level in Bowen Therapy, certification in Cat, Canine and Equine Muscle Release Therapy™, Australian Bush Flower Essences and Reiki I & II Therapy, as well as life long skills in Intuitive Guidance, Equine Interactive Connections and Guidance - which I have called “Edequine Hoofprints to Life” and 'Edequine Connexionz', and am in the process of expanding my Animal Awareness and Insights programs.

In additional to animal connections, I also offer participation in such workshops and one on one interaction in Personal Empowerment and Lifestyle Transformation, Animal Interactive Approach and Behavioural Education and connection as Your Personal Empowerment Guide and Coach.

If you are interested in discovering more of what we have to offer, or would like to share an adventure, just let me know!

Contact me on 0414 696355 or Email

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