Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
The moment of ignition. The moment where one stimuli too many has hit and we are poised and ready to unleash all of the pent up frustrations we have been shouldering internally on whatever has been the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.
That moment is the gateway to our future being. It is the moment where life gives us full opportunity to discover restraint. The moment to go inward with reflection, as an alternate to our gut instinct which is to go outward with reaction.
How interesting then, that at this deciding moment, we are most often willing to blurt out all of the things we most probably should keep inside.
Is it a matter of training, or how we were raised? Or is the overt reaction so human, that it defies any education, and is strictly internal programmed response?
Is it a learned behavior, modeled for us by parents, siblings or other influential people in our world? Perhaps.
Do we see it in fiction through TV, movies, plays, books, games and cartoons? Do these subliminally teach us that a fast and assured instant reaction is by far the best choice at a key moment of engagement?
I wrestle with this lesson all the time. If the wrong stimuli connects at a moment of weakness, it is all that I am able to do but to keep my mouth shut and not let my fingers near a keyboard.
Viktor learned this lesson in Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. He was a psychologist/neurologist in Austria when he was taken by the Nazis. In the camp, Viktor developed Logotherapy, in which he discovered that those around him who did not lose their sense of purpose and meaning in life were able to survive much longer than those who had lost their way.
One of the many tools I continue to use to help me grow past this ugly quality within myself is to reflect on a flashcard when my internal trigger is hit. I never wish to ever leave written record of my having been anything other than civil. So I never put anything in writing that I would be ashamed of later. And if I feel like speaking similar, I have promised myself that I will wait a minimum of 24 hours prior to responding, regardless of how deeply desirous I am at the moment.
It is directly a result of having learned some of these thoughts/concepts by Frankl that I have found this particular lesson to take hold, especially when emotion is so quick to make anything explode out of nowhere. There is nothing in my world even remotely on par with what Frankl had to experience in a concentration camp. So if he can master that approach, then it would be a small jump for me to be as assured in my ability to do same, with far less stimuli trying to set me into an undignified response.
It interests me how I learn some of the most basic lessons such as this one. It is part of the reason that I opt to share. I know a lot of us find vulnerabilities within that we are not proud of and are hoping to find pathways to better ourselves along the way.
These musings are breadcrumbs left behind on my path, for anyone who is looking for an answer that they have yet to find. If anything I share carries merit or value in your world as a result of my taking the time to share any of it, then my time was well spent.