Be proactive, not reactive. That is the message we hear. But often it is easier said than done. There is so much we cannot change nor fix and it seems like we are literally tossed to and fro by life. We try to make progress but encounter obstacles daily. Frustrated by life we strike out and feel out of control. We seem to be victims of the fight or flee response – and even more, we encounter the frustration of the third response – freeze.

But there is another way to live. That way is to be proactive. To choose to prepare for life and make plans to move forward regardless of the obstacles. How do we do that? There are simple steps that we need to take. The first is to give yourself a break. We all are reactive sometimes. It is a part of being human. We need to accept ourselves as we are as a starting point. And see ourselves clearly, warts and all.

We also need to examine our behaviors and find out the what’s, why’s, and when’s of our reactiveness. We need to figure out what sets us off, why that sets us off, and when we are most likely to react. Everyone is different in reaction and everyone will be different in working to change to being proactive.

But you might say that it takes time to change. True, and again give yourself a break. You don’t have to do it all at once. Once you know where your reactiveness resides you can start to make changes. You know where your vulnerabilities are and where you need to work.

Being proactive is choosing to move forward to face fears and challenge difficulties before they come to your door. Confronting the obstacles and dangers of life can be invigorating when you see yourself as having the power to confront them, not letting them hunt you down. Be the hunter, not the hunted.

You can’t predict the future and there are no guarantees. But the more you can prepare yourself for what might happen, the better able you are to confront change and danger. And not knowing everything is not necessarily a bad thing. Someone once said “embrace uncertainty”, you might learn a great deal. Not just about life, but about yourself. You learn the extent of your abilities by having them tested, and challenged.

So give yourself a break. Be proactive, not reactive.