Updated: Jul 14
"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. Frankyl
We have the ability to think about our thinking..have you ever thought about that? Isn’t it funny? Like an I know that you know what I know sort of situation.
This ability is what separates us from the animals. It makes us rational beings, beings with a mind, an intellect and will, as opposed to those who survive solely on instinct and basic memory. We judge, we deliberate, we see different sides, we challenge, we reflect. Sometimes, we can even change our minds.
Our Intellect is part of our soul, part of the way we image God. It is our higher level of thinking, our ability to Reason. What the intellect takes in and considers is then passed along the Will, the other portion of our soul that actually makes the choice on which we act. You can think of our Intellect resting in our heads and the Will resting in our hearts. These are the muscles that we desire to build and tone in the journey of the spiritual life.
So where does that space exist? That one between stimulus and response? Where does our freedom lie? That which Victor Frankyl describes as our power to choose our response. It lies, dear friends in our minds. In the interplay between our Intellect and our Will. It lies in our thinking. Something happens and whether or not we realize it, we have a thought about that thing that happened. The thought fires so quick we often miss it all together and find ourselves experiencing an emotion of some sort either pleasant or unpleasant.
But whether aware or not, a thought occurs and the thing is, on some level, we are choosing that thought. I remember almost feeling a little defensive at first when I learned this. “How can I be held responsible for something that I don’t even know I’m doing?!” That’s the whole point! This is emotional adulthood: realizing this responsibility lies with ourselves and intentionally taking the time and putting forth the effort to slow that process down long enough to hear the thought before we act on it, to catch the thought before it plays out and decide whether or not it is good or even true!
Without that space, we are victims of our circumstances - we become victims of our own minds without even realizing it. This knowledge is empowering. It is the key that opens the door to interior freedom. Realizing that our freedom comes from within and does not depend on exterior circumstances…suddenly our own happiness rests in our hands and ours alone. Do we accept that responsibility? Do you want the key? It’s in the form of a grace-filled, holy pause.
**I am a Professionally trained Catholic Mindset Coach through Metanoia Catholic. I love to work with Catholic women or any woman open to processing their thoughts and emotions through a Catholic world view.
**Check out my personal blog, Grateful Blessed Mess, at gratefulblessedmess.com to get to know me better! Don't hesitate to reach out. I'd love to hear from you if anything has spoken to your heart or you have any questions in general about Catholic Mindset Coaching.