React or respond? These are two very different things, so what’s the difference between the two?
A reaction is tied to an emotion. You feel something and then you react, which is what creates an immediate external reaction. This might be in the form of anger, lashing out, even freezing up and running away. First, something happens, like you smash your finger and immediately yell out, or you get angry and throw a hammer across the room. That’s having a reaction.
However, it’s possible to create a response rather than a reaction. What’s the difference between the two? It’s a pause. There’s a pause between the reaction and the response, and that is what makes all the difference when you’re receiving porn addiction help.
What’s important to remember is that you’re not going to get rid of your natural reaction. The reaction is always going to happen because it’s driven by the subconscious mind, by emotions and how you feel in the moment. But feelings are NOT facts. Oftentimes you feel things, but they’re not actually factual, and they might have nothing to do with the truth in the moment. Just because you feel some kind of way, doesn’t mean you need to act on that feeling. You can pause before you react, and then you can respond, instead. A response is thought out after you process your emotion. The cognitive part of your brain is active and in charge when you take the time to respond when you work through your porn addiction.
As an example, imagine your significant other says something that makes you upset. Your response could be to say, “Okay, I hear you, I appreciate you sharing that with me.” But a reaction would be to lash out by saying, “Why are you getting on me?” The reaction situation happens when you’re feeling emotional and then you act out, but it’s possible to take time to create a response rather simply react.
How do you get to the response rather than just reacting? When you start to notice feelings welling up, like frustration, sadness, or anger, take a moment to notice that you feel it. Let that noticing be a signal to you that you need to pause and take a personal interior timeout. You can also take an actual timeout by saying, “Hey, I need a few minutes, but I’ll come back to you.” or “I just need to take a few minutes.” It’s helpful and respectful to say you’ll come back to the situation at hand.
You always have the choice to do more than just react, but this requires that you first become aware. You have to become aware of what you’re doing and why you’re feeling what you’re feeling. Especially when you are struggling through porn addiction and receiving porn addiction support, you’re not going to be able to do this perfectly every time, and that’s okay. Getting porn addiction help and taking the time to respond instead of react is not an easy thing, because we as people generally live in reaction to our emotions, to our stories, to the narratives that get triggered when something happens. Your story is your narrative, your programming from when you were a child and when difficult things happen to you.
If you don’t want to act out as a reaction, but instead choose to respond knowing that you’re in control, your subconscious needs to instigate your reaction. When you take a breather, you don’t let the automatic programming kick in, and you have the chance to take a step back and evaluate. You can see if the situation warrants the level of reaction your emotion has triggered. This kind of break is what you need to understand, and what you’re trying to figure out. You’re better able to answer the question: “Is my reaction warranted for this situation?”
It takes time to learn to pay attention, and it’s not easy. Initially, you need to begin with paying attention to when your emotions are starting to well up, and that’s all you need to do at first. Start to pay attention to when your emotions are starting to escalate, when they’re starting to build up. Pay attention to your emotional center and the things that are coming up, the sensations or thoughts that are escalating.
When a strong reaction starts to come up, and you can pay attention to it, you’ll be able to get to a place where you can deal with it head on. You’ll start to be able move from reaction into response. For example, say you’re standing in line for a long time and it’s taking such a long time, and then you get up to whatever you were waiting for, and by now you’re reacting. You think to yourself, “wow, this shouldn’t have taken so long.” That’s the emotion bubbling up. But if you can observe your reaction and not impulsively react, then you have a chance to respond with thoughtfulness instead of reacting out of emotion.
If you want a better life, better relationships, and better interactions with people such as your immediate circle of family and friends, then you will need to learn to respond rather than just react.
When you need help with porn addiction and you’re looking for porn addiction support, our team is here to help. We’ve been there and we know a way out, and we understand that reacting can feel like it’s a lot easier than responding to stressful or negative situations. Instead, we’re focused on providing the porn addiction help you need to better yourself, improve your ability to thoughtfully react, and to create a life that you enjoy. With our specialized porn addiction therapy services, you can more easily work through your concerns, your instincts to react, and your negative emotions that cause you to react in the first place. When you learn more about your ability to craft responses to the situations around you instead of blindly reacting to them, you’ll feel more free, more confident, and more like who you know you are.
Learn more about our porn addiction therapy services and how you can get help with your porn addiction. Working toward a better you who is able to respond instead of blindly react to your surrounding is our goal, and we’re here with the porn addiction support you need in order to become your best self. Work toward the feeling of freedom you get when you’ve conquered your addiction! Get started with our team, led by a nationally recognized expert on sexually compulsive behavior like porn addiction. Contact us to learn more, book private or group sessions, or get started with our ten-lesson video course.