I’ve had a few moments in the last week or so, where I’ve felt really passionate and/or upset about something, and I get really motivated and driven. It gets me excited to do something about my upset. And while I think that’s lovely, I have to ask myself - is this really me, or is this just a reaction? And if it’s just reaction, what’s actually true to me? And does acting from reaction really create what I want? Reaction has us working against the thing that upset us. It has us throw all our energy into defense. Into the negative. Into "NOT that”. Proaction has us working for the thing that we really want. It has us throw all our energy into offense without letting the few goals scored against us get in the way of our movement. It has us work from the positive, the inspiration. It has us create what we actually want.
When we are upset, our passion/emotion kind of blinds us from what’s real. It feels so real because it’s exciting, all consuming, sometimes uncontrollable. It becomes an obsession or addiction or be upset at someone or something in order to make ourselves feel better. But that’s not the truth, it’s not your authentic processing or decision making. So how do we get to the truth?
I’ve found again and again that often, the truth is very close to the reaction. For example, let’s say you go to an audition or a job interview, and you don’t get it. There are two common reactions: 1) feel not good enough and helpless or 2) feel like they don’t deserve you anyway and screw them! Although these seem like different reactions, they are really just two sides of the same coin: fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of never achieving dreams. Fear of not being seen. And although the second reaction seems like the powerful one, it is still feeding into the fact that this audition says something about you and your worth. And if that’s the case, in order to be okay, you have to say screw them. You have to put them down in order to keep your worth safe.
Not only is this kind of crappy, it also proves to be ineffective. It puts you in overdrive, proving to yourself in others that you are good enough. It has you throw all your eggs in the defense basket, and save little for the offense. But the truth doesn’t need to be proven. The truth just is. Knowing your worth is not something you have to squash others to see, you just see it.
But here’s the thing. These two reactions are really close to important truths, and important tools for growth, it’s just that the upset blinds us from it. Number 1 comes from the truth that perhaps there is something for you to work on, to make yourself more effective at your job. And number 2 comes from a very healthy, and necessary, decision to not let others’ opinions make you feel bad about yourself. But both are flipped into this reactionary, defensive, fear-based emotion, instead of solid, effective thought and action.
Now, I’m not saying never get passionate or upset about things - I do think this creates motivation for change. However, watch yourself when you are really fiery. Notice when that is driven from fear instead of faith. Notice the way you jeopardize your strength, by moving from anger. Notice when you are putting others down along the way. Notice. So that you can act more powerfully.