If you've read Stephen Covey's book,The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this will be a familiar whakaaro (concept) to you - if you haven't, do yourself a favour please and pick it up. In the book, pāpā Stephen talks about a space between the stimulus; whatever it is we're confronted with, evoking a reaction from us; and our response. Within this space, we're focusing on what we can control; our ability to respond; response-ability.
Let's use our creation story as an example. Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) were once together in a tight embrace; wonderful for them but for most of their children, it was uncomfortable, cramped and restricting as they were unable to move freely. Their 'imprisonment' could be identified as their stimulus (what was evoking reaction from them) and their response as Tāne separating their parents, and thus the dawn of Te Ao Mārama (the world of light, man).
However! In between the initial feeling of being stuck and restricted (stimulus) and the separation of their parents (response); there was a space in which the children went through their processes, gave suggestions and made various attempts to achieve their outcome, and bring light into the world.
Now, let's bring it back to us in Te Ao Mārama today... because unfortunately we don't have aeons to go through processes and weigh up our options, like back then.
Have you ever been confronted by someone and they pushed all your buttons, got under your skin and next thing you know, you're giving it right back to them? Have you been in a position where you have to make a decision under pressure? Are you able to pause, and consciously decide how you will respond to the stimulus? Are you, really....
Try lie to me (and yourself) and say you've never had a moment in your life where in hindsight, you've been like 'damn, I wish I didn't do that,' or
'I shoulda, woulda, coulda done or said this...'
because after the confrontation, situation or event, it feels like we have all the space we could ever want to go over how we would have responded better...
Obviously too late because we've already responded, but there's hope moving forward! Now we're conscious of this space and the whakapapa (process) involved; when a moment arises in the future where stimulus is evoking our response; we'll be more likely to pause and weigh up the most appropriate next step. Our ability to respond will improve and therefore, we'll become more responsible with our actions, behaviours and decisions.
Karawhiua, get 'em!