I’ve rarely heard a quote more true or more powerful than Viktor Frankl’s observation (admonition) regarding stimulus and response.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
In that space lies our salvation, our freedom, our power, our hope. There may be magic in that space! There’s a lot in that space! The trick, of course, is in expanding that space – expanding the moment and carefully contemplating our response. Grandma used to say “count to ten” before responding. If counting to ten is too much of a stretch, let’s try for a least a breath. Inserting a single deep breath in that space can definitely make the difference between speaking hurtful words, helpful words, healing words, or no words at all.
Lean into that stimulus (that feeling, memory, comment, craving, or event) with curiosity as explained by Dr. Jud Brewer in his Ted Talk.
Every stimulus may invite a response, but some are best allowed to pass without a response. Choosing not to respond is sometimes the best response. Again, try for at least a breath in that space. Explore that space with curiosity and you will expand that space.