There is a gap between stimulus and response. Even if it’s just a milli-second, the moment something happens we still have a chance to decide on how we wish to respond before we do.
Re-action is literally acting on something that happened before. And it is often understood as a response that is not based on choice, but on pure and immediate re-action.
“I over-reacted” is an example where we responded in a way that we regretted afterwards. Triggered by an event that caused emotions which made us lose control over what we really wanted (or would have wanted) in that moment. In this respect, it is good to remember that such emotions are generated by our belief system, which is based on past events in our life, and have nothing to do with the situation as such.
Sleeping a night over a nasty e-mail before responding is a great possibility to claim back our choice of reaction instead of being caught by instant emotions.
It is good to remember that there is a space between the stimulus to our reaction, and our response. There always is.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl