We live in a highly reactive world. Having a 12 month old toddler, this point becomes plainly obvious every day! When he is hungry, he complains. When he is tired, he fusses. When he gets hurt, he cries. Seemingly, as we age we grow out of this reactive stage and into maturity. Is this really the case? 

How many times have we lost our cool while waiting in a line? How often have we complained about someone else when irritated? When we look closer at our lives it is clear to see that the only difference between us and toddlers is the level of reactivity.  

So how do we get beyond ourselves? One thing to realize is that we always have a choice. A choice to respond, or the choice to react. The difference being that the former is consciously made, while the other is a knee-jerk reaction. Our failing to realize this is our own fault.  

I liken it to feeding my son. Just recently we have been allowing him to feed himself. He is used to being fed, so he tends to wait for us to give him food even when it is placed in front of him. At some point though he realizes that he is able to do it himself. It is when he bypasses his normal reaction (unconscious action) and executes a response (conscious action) that he takes initiative in his own hands (literally) and feeds himself. You have the power to do the same. It requires more effort, however you can be proud of the results. It is the difference between being fed and feeding yourself.