Many would think there is not much difference between these words.
Even Webster’s Dictionary uses these words almost interchangeably.
Copied from Webster on line:
RESPOND: 1 : to say something in return : make an answer RESPOND to criticism 2a : to REACT in response, RESPONDed to a call for help 2b : to show favorable REACTion RESPOND to surgery 3 : to be answerable RESPOND in damages REACT 1 : to exert a reciprocal or counteracting force or influence —often used with on or upon 2 : to change in response to a stimulus 3 : to act in opposition to a force or influence —usually used with against 4 : to move or tend in a reverse direction 5 : to undergo chemical REACTion
For anyone with experience in effective communications, there is a HUGE difference between these two words.
A HUGE difference with the results of each of these actions.
My thoughts on each of these words:
To RESPOND, is a thoughtful and well intentioned response, driving for a respectful outcome.
To REACT, is action without regard to the consequences.
How many times have we wished we had RESPONDED vs. REACTED.
How many times have we wished we would have paused for a second.
How many times would things have ended differently, if we had RESPONDED vs. REACTED.
Our criminal justice system is filled with people who REACTED – in an instant, without much thought, causing themselves grave consequences, for years.
What if they had used paused and RESPONDED, allowing a thoughtful and well intentioned response…how different their lives might be. They would not be behind bars, paying for their “REACTions” with years of their lives.
Other situations, not so drastic, create barriers around our hearts, our heads, our hands…we may not be incarcerated, but we can be in our own private prison as the result of our REACTions.
Unhealthy REACTions do not serve us. Ever. Unhealthy REACTions come from FEAR. This is never positive. Never.
Responses of LOVE, Understanding, Courage are positive. Responses with respect for ourselves, and others, serve us positively. Always.
When we RESPOND from a place of LOVE and RESPECT – we can stand by our well intentioned response. It is solid. Timeless.
When a well intentioned response is filled with Love and Respect – there is no need for regret.
No need to apologize.
No damage done.
Does this mean a RESPONSE is just a sugar coated REACTION?
A response, delivered with respect, might be painful to deliver, painful to receive, but it can stand on it’s own. Without regrets.
A REACTion however, can do incredible damage, quickly, as it is filled with Fear, and not rooted in respect.
REACTions might feel good for about 2 seconds as you “speak your peace”…but the damage of REACTing versus RESPONDing immediately ruins any 2 second victory.
REACTing can require great repair at best.
RESPONDing requires great restraint and no repair.
We cannot control how someone might receive a thoughtful response.
Delivering a response with respect will always serve YOU well.
REACTing without thought or respect, will never serve YOU well.
NO Thanks to REACTING.
Choose to RESPOND. It will serve YOU well. Always.