Responding, while technically a reaction, takes into consideration the desired outcome of the interaction. Reacting is emotional, responding is emotional intelligence.
Reactions are driven by the beliefs, biases, and prejudices of the unconscious mind; they are done without ‘thinking’. When you react to life, you’re acting emotionally from either memory or old habits.
Responding means first observing the circumstance with curiosity and awareness. It means not jumping to conclusions, seeing the situation from every angle, and accepting that your opinion may not be the only one or even the best one and that your perception may not be accurate. A response takes all perspectives into consideration – not only your own. It is about thinking before acting.
Before acting after something happens, pause and allow your initial emotional reaction to pass. Then, think about what is a reasonable response to take.