The Reaction Choice Moment
Most people only know two ways to deal with their emotions: Express or Repress them. This can lead to reactive responses that, in hindsight, are often not fitting for you or the context you are in. The Reaction Choice Moment (RCM) is a third way to handle your emotions and create a response. This option is a fundamental change that includes both of the previous possibilities and adds as many more as you are open to. This exercise is a skill, and each step consists of additional skills. The RCM is the final tool given during the Core Management Training. We spend 5 days teaching, practicing, and developing the crucial skills required to be able to use the RCM. Below you will find a description of the steps practiced while doing the RCM as well as an example.
The 4 steps of the Reaction Choice Moment
1. Something happens outside or inside yourself.
This is a continuous experience, something happens inside or outside ourselves. Becoming aware of what happens is the difference between reflex and intention. Core management starts here, allowing us take control and turn off auto-pilot, creating responses that fit with the situation at hand. Crucial skills: reflection, creative response, neutral attention, self-observation, drone-view.
2. Open yourself to receive it.
What happens inside or outside ourselves is already there when we see it. Being open gives us the opportunity to let multiple options rise. Clear access to information empowers us to act appropriately. Crucial skills: differentiation, awareness of emotions, release of judgment.
3. You make a choice.
There is no best choice, only the best choice in that moment. The more options we have, the better we can influence the context we are in. Making a choice is less an act of cognition but of recognition. Crucial skills: recognition of shadow convictions, dismantling limiting beliefs.
4. Deliver your reaction with appreciation.
Appreciation means honouring the value of the experience. Because we are able to observe and allow ourselves to accept all that there is, emotion looses its power. Responses can then be expressed with composure and self-command. Crucial skills: voluntary identification, neutral attention, release of judgment.
You are confronted by your boss and he starts making all sorts of accusations. Your normal reaction could be to defend yourself or start crying.
1. Something happens outside or inside yourself.
What happens outside yourself is: angry boss. What happens inside yourself is the feeling that comes up when your boss is angry and makes accusations. It can be defense, anger, insecurity, and or sadness. Maybe the situation even touches you in your “mental pain point.”
2. Open yourself to receive it
You allow yourself to be open to observe what is happening between you and your boss. This means you are listening to what is being said and really allow it to enter your mind. You do not react, but just observe. Because you are peacefully observing you can make the choice how to react to this situation. The less judgments you have about behavior or emotions, the more freedom of choice you will experience. If you have a judgment about crying or getting angry, it means that those choices are less available to you. You have a choice pallet that could consist of the following choices:
a. He is right.
b. I have to think about it and will get back to him later.
c. He is not right.
d. This makes me angry, because it is not true.
3. You make a choice
You choose one of the possible reactions. Every choice you make is fine. There is no best choice, only the best choice in that moment. If you notice that you are thinking about your choice, you are away from the moment. If you would choose to be angry with your boss and start thinking about the consequences, you are no longer in the Reaction Choice Moment. The Reaction Choice Moment gives you the opportunity to constantly be in the moment.
4. You deliver your choice with appreciation
You react with appreciation. If it is your choice to be angry at your boss, you express what it is you have to say and at the same time you are sending him appreciation. He can say what he has to say, he has chosen you to be critical about and that is okay. At the same time you appreciate your own feelings and way of reacting. Those are allowed as well. Because you are choosing to identify with your anger you will only say what you have to say in that moment. You give gas and use the breaks. You decide what happens and are free to do so because you are freely identified. Voluntary, free identification means that you are involved with what is happening, but there is also a distance to it. You have one foot in the situation and one foot out of it. You are not drawn in by an invisible force as you would be with involuntary identification. Because you are able to observe and allow yourself to accept all that is there, the emotion looses it’s power. The observations become like small clouds at a blue sky. They come, are there for a moment, and leave again.