Mindful Moments with Brenda Strausz: Are you a Reactor or a Creator?

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. 
-Viktor E. Frankl

A reactor is someone who blames other people and things for the unhappiness in their life. Instead of taking personal responsibility, they look outside themselves for answers to their problems.

It is often an automatic process … conditioned from childhood where we picked up the habits of our primary caregivers.

Reactors walk around with a chip on their shoulder as they are always waiting for the next thing or person to grumble or complain about.

Like a dead fish at the mercy of the river, reactors will allow life’s challenges to drag them along with the current. And because their happiness is dependent on everyone else’s behaviors, happiness often eludes them.

But creators!

Creators know that blame and resentment are futile. Rather than seeing other people or events as the source of their problems, creators look inside as they seek creative and empowered solutions for the issues at hand. Like a live fish forging his way through the river as he jumps and glides over rocks and twigs, creators make their way with intelligence, wisdom and creativity. Creators are easily spotted by their radiant glow of peace and well-being. So, what about you? 
Are you a reactor or a creator?


In every moment I get to choose my responses to life.

I catch myself as I react and choose to respond instead.

Creative solutions are always at hand.

I choose to see problems as possibilities.

I live life as a conscious creator.

As I take responsibility for my own life my life improves dramatically.

I am creative, resourceful and empowered!

Brenda Strausz is a holistic psychotherapist in the Detroit Metro area. She blends conventional and alternative techniques as she helps people to live with more ease, joy and freedom.

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  1. Brenda, I’m preparing a couples workshop and was thinking about the subject of reactor vs creator and decided to Google it, and landed here on your wonderfully concise article on the subject.

    We plan to spend some time looking into the difference between Triggered Reactions and Chosen Responses, and to practice recognizing those key moments of choice between stimulus and response.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just agree to ignore our triggered reactions, take a deep breath and say “Let’s start over,” and then allow a moment to choose a creative response that serves our higher purpose.

    As Steven Stosny does a great job explaining in “Love without Hurt,” when we blame we give our power away to something external. But the reality is: Nothing external determines my inner state. I either do consciously, or something unconscious in me grabs the steering wheel of the bus while I’m not paying attention.

    I love how you say “creators look inside as they seek creative and empowered solutions for the issues at hand.” That requires maintaining a focus on our overarching purpose. Am I loving, honoring and cherishing you in this moment? If the wedding vows we made at the altar are the initial lines on the canvas of our life together, then how we speak to each other each moment is how we fill in those lines with color. Will the colors be discordant, strident, clashing? Or creatively harmonious with the original design we’re now filling out with each brushstroke?


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