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Pro-active versus Re-active

We are re-acting all the time to people and events that are happening in the moment.

We will experience a whole range of emotions: anger, fear, anxiety, worry, hate, betrayal, rejection, unwanted, ashamed, inadequate, unappreciated, upset, deflated, and the list goes on.

Becoming proactive does not mean we won’t experience reactive emotions. All emotions are important and tell us something. But it does mean that we choose what we do with them. Emotions give us the information we need to determine our actions.

If you haven’t already done so, become familiar with the emotions you experience on a daily basis.

How often do you feel angry? Ask yourself why you feel so angry all the time. Is it because you feel you are being taken advantage of, manipulated, or lied to?

Do you feel you have little control over your circumstances? How often do you feel anxious or worry? Is it because you are uncertain about what you should do?

How often do you feel resentful? Is it because you fear becoming responsible due to a lack of self worth and self confidence?

How often do you feel happy? Is being happy a conscious decision made by you in spite of what is going on around you?

Is my reaction appropriate for what is happening in the moment or is it influenced by my past? Is there a problem I need to identify and resolve?

When we are pro-active we determine how we want to treat people, how we want to be treated, how we treat ourselves, and how we will become responsible for our emotions and behaviors. We don’t continue doing things that aren’t working. We take new information and start applying it.

When we are pro-active we are self-directed. We purposefully replace attitudes, thinking and behavior patterns that restrict us from reaching our goals. We choose to be happy.

Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

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