Reactive or Conscious?

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

January 20, 2022

The definition of reactive is “done in immediate response to something especially without thinking or planning.” A few antonyms of reactive are conscious, deliberate, and intentional. As we journey through our life on this planet, we’ll likely have moments of reactivity as well as moments in which we’re conscious, deliberate, and intentional. Which moments do we feel our best in? Which moments do we want to experience more of? If your anything like me, it’s the latter.

If you’re a normally developing human, your frontal lobe will fully mature around your 25th birthday. Before that point, we may naturally be more prone to reactive behaviors. But after that point, we can begin our journey to becoming more conscious, deliberate, and intentional – if we choose to. Some of us will prefer living in the reactive sense because it provides us with a comfort we’ve always known. We may also like the responses we receive to our reactivity. But we can also choose to move past the reactive state. We can choose to pause more often and home in on our ability to be conscious, deliberate, and intentional.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past Monday, January 17th, 2022 was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And if there is one thing I know from the stories I’ve heard, that man was the epitome of conscious, deliberate, and intentional. At times in which most of us would have been reactive, he kept his cool. At times in which he was taunted and ridiculed, he remained resolute. He was able to do that because he used his ability to remain conscious, deliberate, and intentional. He knew he needed to remain peaceful if he was seeking peace. As he put it, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

While my frontal lobe may not be as mature as Dr. King’s, I hope one day I will get there. This year I made a promise to myself to be more discerning with my time. And one thing I can focus my energy on is developing my ability to be less reactive and more conscious, deliberate, and intentional.

And if I’m lucky, my frontal lobe will continue to mature, and reactivity will have no place here.

A girl can dream, right?