While most of us aren't crazy, we all have an incessant internal dialogue running in our mind. At best, we can attain a sense of inner calm that enables us to manage the voice and choose our dialogue. In calming ourselves, we become more aware of external events of the moment and less caught up in our own thoughts.
Why is this so important? Because, in essence, we are two different selves or forces - our irrational, reactive self and our logical, responsive self. I'll call them the beast and the eagle.
The beast within us is wild and out of control. It's driven by emotion and instincts to react swiftly and aggressively. Because it is running on the ground, it is too close to the events to be objective. It makes mistakes and often is powerless to stop or modify self-destructive behaviour.
Whereas the eagle flies high and can look objectively at what is taking place on the ground. It is driven by rational, intelligent thinking and can choose emotions and respond appropriately. It can modulate behaviours to ensure the best outcomes.
The challenge human beings face is that these two forces exist within all of us - each fighting for dominance. At times we are the beast, at others we are the eagle.When we are provoked, the beast gains an upper hand, unless the eagle is able to assert itself and calm the mind.
Taking a moment to assess a situation from a calm, rational perspective allows us to make the right decisions and respond, rather than react. Pausing and taking a deep breath or even physically stepping back will help us be an eagle.
It takes training - more so in some areas than others. But, giving yourself time for your rational mind to take command will always pay dividends.
Keep in mind the difference between reacting and responding is only ten seconds.