For every action, there is an equally as powerful reaction.

This is what I tell my five year old daughter when she has yet another tempertantrum (after I’ve foiled her plans for world domination). This is very true.

However, people often misconstrue “powerful” with “damaging.” Not every reaction is damaging. In fact, sometimes the reaction is to be understanding and patient.

When I was younger, I believed that life was like a war; a series of battles, with a win/loss column that needed to be referenced back to when there was yet another battle. However, the demise of my marriage helped me realize that life isn’t a war; it’s a series of actions and reactions.

Every time you act, someone will react. If you act without thinking, then the reaction will be recoil and you will get hurt from the fallout of your poor choices. However, once in awhile, people may surprise you and react in a way that will shock you. Sometimes you torture yourself expecting the fallout from the action only to see the reaction was that someone understood all along.

However, there should be a lesson for all of us, not just to act blindly, or to react with rage. We need to act with kindness and react in kind. Otherwise we will be fighting a war with ourselves, one that we will never win, for we don’t fight fairly and know all of our weaknesses. So we must think before we act and think harder before we react.  After all, we’ve all felt the sting of someone who has lashed out when we’ve messed up and tried to make amends, so why do it to someone else? My foster father told me years ago that the greatest act of bravery a cowardly man can exhibit is to admit when he has done wrong and attempt to repair his destruction. That is an action, the next action is determined by reaction, which triggers the next action and so forth. This path will continue until the end of days for all of us, so we should always be mindful of what reaction our actions will trigger.


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