What do Your Reactions Say About You?

Have you heard of the 90/10 principle? It’s a Steven Covey principle that says:

“10% of life is what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.”


What exactly does that mean? Here are a few examples in stepfamily life:

You can’t control whether your stepchild will like you or not. But you can control your response. You can choose to maintain a positive attitude and refuse to be offended by a cold stare or apathetic demeanor.

You can’t control whether your stepchild skips school, but you can control how you react to it. You can choose to get angry and yell and demean your child or you can calmly discuss the consequences.

You can’t control the effects of loyalty conflict in your relationships. But you can choose your reaction to your stepchild’s natural feelings toward their biological parent, which in turn will influence your stepchild’s relationship with you.

Our reactions are within our control. We can make intentional choices to react positively and constructively, regardless of the situation.

How we react to our circumstances affects our stress level everyday.

We’ve had an ongoing refrigerator problem at our house for over six weeks. A technician has been out three times, replacing various parts, but it never stays fixed for long. Since we carry a home warranty, we can’t make the choice to replace the refrigerator. One day I was so angry over the slow response to fixing the problem, I unleashed on the technician. (Not a good response…) It didn’t solve the problem and only made me feel bad for my poor behavior.

I decided to quit stressing over it and we purchased a spare refrigerator to use until the problem was solved. We were finally informed today that our refrigerator is non-repairable and will be replaced. Yay! When I let go of the problem and allowed the company to reach a conclusion on their own time, relieving me of the stress of being involved, a satisfactory solution resulted.

My poor reaction to the problem didn’t solve it any sooner – it simply raised my blood pressure.


We face challenges everday. Our relationships are affected by how we act and what we say. Do we proactively act or do we react? It’s our choice.

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