Reaction, Opportunity and Direction

As we all have come to know, every action has a reaction, but what we sometimes fail to realize is that those reactions are different from person to person. We struggle to see things from a different perspective, and that’s when we don’t agree with someone’s reaction to a situation.

I recently broke up with my longtime girlfriend of almost four years. I’ve had a flurry of emotions in the days since, but ultimately I keep coming back to the question, “How should I react?” Am I supposed to feel upset, angry, stressed? Of course I am. That’s what I believe makes myself and all of us human beings: the ability to feel, to be emotional and to reflect on the past.

My first reaction — if you can even call it a reaction — was to feel emptiness. This was a person I spent four years of my life with who made me feel the complete opposite of empty, and it was gone in a heartbeat. It was the first true break-up I have experienced and for that reason, I thought I was supposed to understand why I felt the way I did. Sure, I can point out the obvious and say I was single for the first time in a long time, but that just isn’t satisfying to me. I wanted to know why I chose to feel that way, whether consciously or subconsciously.

I believe the short answer for why we choose to feel things is because we’re forced into making choices. We choose to get out of bed in the morning, to eat what we do, to talk to who we do and to date who we want. Our reactions to those choices are, for an instant, purely emotional, and this can lead to irrational decisions and thoughts we don’t comprehend in the moment. However, when we understand our decisions, we begin to understand our reactions and, most importantly, we can look ahead and realize things will get better.

Breaking up with someone sucks. It’s not fun and my mind was torn between not wanting to do it and understanding our relationship had run its course. But from every event in our life comes an opportunity.

In this instance, my opportunity is to focus on myself and the direction I want to go in life. There’s a popular saying in today’s culture which is, “It be like that sometimes,” and as dumb (and grammatically incorrect) as it may sound, it’s kind of true. Life is just like that sometimes, and eventually, you have to take the reins and go in the direction you want.

As a former baseball player, I find a lot of hidden meanings within the game, especially philosophically. Baseball is a game of reaction — reacting to a curveball or changeup at the plate, or when a fly ball is hit in the gap, you have to react well to be successful. I believe that can be applied to all aspects of our life. If we don’t react well, we won’t be as successful as we want. You need to be able to catch up to the fastballs and stay back on the curveballs that life will throw at you.

Baseball is also a game of consistency. The best players are consistent day-in and day-out. If you can be a consistent .300 hitter, you’ll be one of the best in baseball. I believe success will come to those who can consistently have a positive impact on themselves and those around them. It doesn’t mean going above and beyond to make everyone happy, but understanding that if you are consistently making an effort to better yourself each day, I think I will be much happier in the long run.

It’s been a tough week, but as I said, this is a time for growth and opportunity in my own life. I’m not going to change who I am — I love the person I am — but I will consistently go into each day with the focus on becoming a better human being and understanding who I was, who I am and who I will become through my experiences.

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