The Proactive Response to Difficult Situations

Bad things happen. It’s an unavoidable part of life. While it doesn’t seem fair, a lot of the time we don’t even have any control over these bad things. What we do have control over, though, is the way in which we respond. Depending on which response you choose, your mindset and really your life will be different.

Here is a guide to the reactive response and the proactive response to difficult situations. This will illustrate which is the healthier choice and take you through the steps to becoming a champion of your own life instead of falling into the role of a victim.

Choosing the Proactive Response to Difficult Situations

The Event

This is the “bad thing.” It could be that you experienced a blow up from a family member during dinner. Maybe you have been laid off from your job. You just found out your friend has betrayed your trust. Your doctor has delivered a frightening diagnosis. Perhaps your partner unexpectedly broke it off with you. Or you have been injured in a car accident.

These all suck. Big time. But unfortunately, they are out of your control.

Now what you do have a choice in is your response:

a) The Reactive Response

When responding in a reactive way, there is little forethought. The situation is crappy, and so it is your instinct to resist it. Maybe even deny it.

But denying the situation doesn’t make it any less real. This leads to resentment and anger towards others involved and even life in general.

Sometimes you turn that anger back onto yourself and end up feeling guilty and full of shame. This leads to a place of hopelessness.

You get caught up in self-pity and ask, “But why is this happening to me?”

= You are now the Victim

b) The Proactive Response

The proactive response to difficult situations involves moving on with intention. You remind yourself that what is here is already here, so the only helpful option is to accept it. There is nothing you can do to prevent an event once it has already happened. It sucks, but it is your reality for right now.

You take the time to think and reflect. You ask yourself, “How can I handle this?” This prompts you to brainstorm problem solving ideas for what you can do to deal with this situation.

After thoughtful comparison, you choose which idea or combination of creative solutions you are going to implement.

And then you actually do it. You create change and you move forward with your life.

= You are now the Champion

The proactive response to difficult situations does not mean the event is any less hurtful or troubling. It does mean that you are able to work through a challenging circumstance in a healthy manner.

A proactive response allows you to be the champion of your life instead of a victim. Click To Tweet

I know this made each response sound overly simplistic. In reality, the proactive response is not an easy one to choose or a simple process to go through. It takes intention, time, and effort. Generally, it’s a challenging and uncomfortable process. You will likely take steps forward, steps backward, stalls in one place, and detours throughout. However, the proactive response worth it because it leads to a healthier, happier place on the other side.

How do you typically respond to difficult situations?

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6 Comment

  1. Reply
    liz n.
    April 6, 2016 at 5:56 am

    This is the INTJ approach! 😉

    1. Reply
      April 6, 2016 at 9:22 am

      Haha, oh that is so true! How fantastic it would be to have this come naturally. Are you an INTJ? I’m an INFJ.

      1. Reply
        liz n.
        April 6, 2016 at 10:24 am

        Ah, you’re the advocate! Of course! I should have seen that straight away!

        Yes, I am an INTJ-A.

        Or, as my husband likes to tease, “a woman who thinks like a man, but not when a man is thinking like an idiot.”

        I didn’t mention to him that INTJ’s don’t really think like anyone else…because, deep down, he already knows that! 😉

        1. Reply
          April 6, 2016 at 7:09 pm

          Haha, awesome! That sort of is a pretty accurate description for INTJ. What does the A at the end mean? I haven’t seen that before.

          1. liz n.
            April 6, 2016 at 7:23 pm

            The “A” signifies your identity, which underlies every other aspect of your personality. It’s basically your general level of confidence in your own decisions and abilities, including how comfortable you are in recognizing your own weaknesses, “A” being assertive and “T” being turbulent.

          2. Grace
            April 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

            That’s so interesting. I haven’t seen that aspect added before. Very cool!

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