The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a reaction as: the way someone acts or feels in response to something that happens or is said etc. We are designed to react to certain situations. It can be for our safety for instance in which you need to move fast to avoid sudden danger. We may react to a certain smell in food which alerts us into avoiding something that is no longer edible it is past its due date. Our bodies are designed to react.
What about when we react emotionally. It is normal to react in anger when someone mistreats you or abuses you. Sadness is healthy and normal when you are grieving for someone or something lost. Being Happy is an emotion to an experience that brings us Joy.
So what is an over-reaction?
There are times when we may over react. Over reaction was common for me when I was growing up as a teenager through to adulthood.
As an example; when I was going out with my fiancé back in the day we often did the usual shopping trip to the mall. Everything was fine when we walked in but everything was not fine when we walked out. As a girl battling with poor self-esteem there were certain situations that caused my emotions to escalate out of control. My fiancé and I would be wandering around the mall doing our thing and if his head even so much as slightly turned in the direction of an oncoming attractive female I would immediately assume he were completely smitten and over taken by this person. The thoughts would start to hit me like boulder sized lies… “Your fiancé thinks that girl is prettier than you because you are in fact ugly”… These thoughts would start to overwhelm my inner world. I found myself not being able to control those thoughts or those emotions that I felt it was as though they had power over me.
Once we got back in the car I would be in such a state of anguish unable to talk or even function in a normal state. My fiancé would ask “What’s wrong?” my response was always, “Nothing”. Later on that day or even maybe that week I would finally explode like a volcano erupting with the lava of hurt, pain and ugliness. This was not how I wanted to live. There was something much deeper in me that needed healing but at the time I didn’t have a clue what it was.
Sometimes our reactions to a situation don’t make sense. Poor self-esteem robs us of the freedom to be ourselves and has the potential to destroy our relationships. As I share my experience may it challenge you into realising that burying your true issues will only cause them to sit unnoticed until the next trigger comes along causing another eruption of emotions. While it may feel difficult to face issues that hurt I encourage you to consider how life would be if you were free from being controlled by low self-esteem.