Choose Your Response

Choosing your response to what happens in life is your greatest freedom. Learn more in this video.

Full Video Transcript (Transcript by Victoria Barkley)

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can hurt you without your consent.”

No one can hurt you without your consent. They can say something; they can, NOT do something, but how we feel about it and what we do about it, we’re in charge of…or we can be. Because this is our mind and this is our emotions. We’re not the mind, we are not the emotions…we have the mind and we have the emotions…which means that we can choose how we’re going to respond. That’s our freedom and a lot of people aren’t exercising that freedom. They are reacting. And when we react, when we live in a reactive mode, we become more of a victim…we become more of a victim. Because then—did you ever hear someone say, she made me angry…he makes me feel guilty?

No one can make us feel anything. They can stimulate feelings… They can say something that’s a stimulus…But in that, there is a gap…that’s our freedom. And it’s not easy, is it? It’s not easy. To recondition ourselves to respond rather than react—it’s not easy, but it’s possible. If one person did it, any one of us can do it…and it grows and grows and grows until you’re in really challenging circumstances and you’re able to choose your response.

I’ve heard speakers and colleagues say that when they’re preparing a message, on a particular topic, things related to that topic will start to occur and happen. And boy, I had a string of things, just during this weekend that were challenging that whole thing of choosing your response. It’s amazing how that happens sometimes. I don’t look for it…I don’t expect it, but sometimes it’s there, you know…

Just a simple thing…I was visiting someone in the hospital in a part of Manhattan I was not familiar with and I was going to catch a bus to Eighth Avenue, to catch the subway…Got on this crowded bus…it was around 4 o’clock…got on this crowded bus…and the bus driver said, “There is a bus coming behind me, if you want to get off and catch that bus.” So, I got off. I didn’t see a bus behind her. I saw a bus in front of her, across the street…and I wondered, “Is that the bus?” So, I got on and asked, “Is that the bus you’re talking about?” She said, “Does it look like a bus? “ (laughter)…opportunity to choose my response…you know, and there was a little bit of being taken back, by her comment…

I just got off her bus and went on the other bus, sat down and thought about how come I felt a little annoyed by her tone? Why was there some annoyance there? And I also thought, oh, this is a good illustration for Sunday’s message also…that’s how speakers can think. And I thought, it was because I want people to be respectful…I asked her a reasonable question and didn’t really need a sarcastic response back. And I think there was a part of me that wanted her to be different. She doesn’t need to be different and I don’t really need to make her different. That’s why I just got off the bus and got on the other one.

We have opportunities all the time, don’t we, to either act like a human, or act like a drone, or a robot. When people push our buttons, what does it mean? It means we have buttons…it means we have buttons…

Wayne Dyer used to do an illustration. He said, “When you squeeze an orange, what do you get out of it—an orange juice. When you get squeezed, what comes out of you?” We have a choice of how we are going to respond to that…