Reactivity makes us more stupid than we are.
When we are more receptive, curious, and have an open mind and heart, we learn, explore, see a situation from several angels, and we are less invested in a partcular view or in defending something or an identity. This means our natural intelligence can be put to work and yield some fruits.
When we are more reactive and want to uphold or defend an idea or identity, it tends to cloud over our natural curiosity, receptivity, and intelligence. In other words, we make ourselves more stupid than we are.
In general, receptivity and curiosity allows for our natural intelligence to function more fully, and reactivity and defensiveness clouds this over and we become a slave to our reactivity and its agenda.
When I notice I get caught in my own reactivity, this is one of the reminders that is helpful for me. Do I want to go down the reactivity path, make myself more stupid than I am, and perhaps say or do things I’ll later regret? Or do I want to give my natural intelligence a chance, be courageous and break with the reactivity pattern, and be more as I really want to be – for my own sake and the sake of the world?
This is also a reminder for me to connect with the fear behind the reactivity impulse. I notice reactivity in me and the temptation to join with it and follow it. Instead, I can connect with the fear behind the reactivity. I can find the fear. Acknowledge it’s there. Take some time – even just a few seconds – to feel it and notice where it is in my body. I can notice any fearful images or stories connected with it.
Breathe. Notice the space it all happens within, and the space within it.
And I can admit all of this to myself. Yes, I notice reactivity in myself. I notice the temptation to go with it. And I notice the fear it comes from. If it’s the right time and situation, I can even mention it to the other person if someone else is involved.
This helps me take a step back and give my receptivity and natural intelligence a chance.