“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 our freedom”
These are some powerful words from Victor Frankl who was an inspiring and influential psychiatrist and holocaust survivor and author of many books including “Man’s Search for Meaning”.
These words can sometimes sum up therapy. They reflect the process that we are helping people become more aware of. It is often about learning how to come off autopilot and finding that small space, before our automatic emotional reaction hijacks us, so we can choose to respond or act in a way that reflects our values or what is important to us.
Increasing our own self-awareness, understanding our insecurities, slowing down the automatic process and reaction, being more mindful, and clarifying what are our values are and what is important to us, are all steps in enabling us to find that space.
When we can find that space we can recognize we are at a choice point. The choice we make can take us in two opposing directions. If we stay on autopilot we will often react in an automatic way, caught by our pattern of thinking and emotional history and a default coping strategy. Even though some of our coping strategies have worked for us in the past or help in the short term they can also take us in a direction in life that we don’t really want to go or create a whole pile of other problems in the long term.
If we can be aware we are even at a choice point, we have the opportunity to pause, to observe ourselves, and more likely to be able to make a choice to act in a way that is in line with our values and the person we know we are inside.
Finding that space is a powerful first step in our personal growth and empowerment.