Warning: Your emotions could be affecting your decisions

As I sit here typing this blog post, I find myself wondering how many people will actually read it, and an even better question yet, how many will actually care? But, staying true to form and I’ll say bugga it and carry right on.

As the darkness swallows the last little dot of blue sky, I find myself growing increasingly frustrated as life seems to be hurling curve balls at me in anyway it sees fit. See, I am a firm believer in the philosophy of “everything happens for a reason”, but try saying that with a smile on your face after recently being retrenched. Needless to say, I press on, hopeful as ever.

But as the night presses on, I find myself wanting to focus on a particular topic tonight as it is really a topic that bothers me: Are we too negative as a society? Are we really that cold and out of tune with ourselves and those around us that we fail as humans to recognise the good in people and to be able to effectively communicate with them and hell, even verbalise your appreciation!

See, as humans, when things go tits up and we become negative, it is only natural for us to defend our point, to stand our ground and act in a state of fight or flight mode. Admittedly, sometimes we throw poop too. Not actual poop but we hurl insults like they are going out of fashion. It’s not okay though and we need to find ways to effectively channel that anger otherwise, we find ourselves in a tricky and uncomfortable, negative environment to work and live in. And in the end, we hurt those we love.

All communication has two sides to it, and depending on which side you focus on, will determine how you are going to feel and react. One sided communication or simply focusing on one side, can be detrimental as it leaves the other person feeling lectured, not seen and unheard. I fore-one, want to pull my hair out if someone interrupts me, answers questions for me and just simply rambles on without letting me get a word in. Annoying huh? Well, what about someone who only sees the worst in you? Does that therefore give us the right to rise to the bait, express our frustrations and throw stones? The right answer is no… but I understand why we all do it: we’re relatable but whatever the reason is that we tend to see the “bad” in other people, it is very difficult to get out of that negative mindset as a society, regardless of how many people try and convince you of otherwise. As humans, we we tend to view these perpetrators in such a bad light as we “know” that they meant their action in a negative way, regardless of what they have to say for themselves. But does it mean that they are right? Not necessarily. And here’s why….

You and I are persuaded by reason but we are moved by emotion, we then justify our actions with logic and facts – which make sense to us. But let me ask you this: Just because you think and feel something, does it make it true just because we “know”?  Several studies conducted over the years have shown that up to 90 percent of our decisions that we make, are under the influence of emotion.

But does this mean we can say that we are rational beings? That we all fit into one box and follow all forms of logic?

When someone says something that makes you grit your teeth, just hold that tongue back, take a minute and remind yourself that only the hostile side of things is being focused on. Why? Because emotions outweigh logic. Take this for example: I give you a piece of wood and I ask you to put in on the ground and walk on it several times, you’ll look at me and laugh with ease. However, I give you that same piece of wood and I placed it 300m in the air between two buildings and ask you to walk, you’ll probably be reluctant. Logic tells you you can walk the piece of wood – you’ve done so countless times yet now, your emotions have come into play which ultimately outweighs logic. You could very well be wrong just purely based on your anger towards a topic. Be careful that’s not you!

Conflict is broken down into a single formula:

(1) The Event – (2) Our thoughts – (3) Emotion – (4) Reaction

(1) The event: This is where the emotional roller coaster begins: with a single event. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this event is a full blown fight, it’s an event that doesn’t sit well with you, such as being ignored by someone you love and care about.

(2) Our Thoughts: This is what you think and feel towards the event and it is the first opportunity that we are presented with to react well – which – we often don’t. Then there might be self-doubt.  You start to question yourself: “what have I done to deserve this?”  Placing the blame on yourself.  I just put myself at the centre of this person’s universe.  Or I could have the attitude of – what’s his deal; did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed? There are an infinite number of thoughts any of us might have about this event, however the more often it happens the less time it takes to get from event to emotion.  In other words, there’s not so much thinking involved.  If this is the 5th or 10th time this same thing has happened, then I’ve pretty much already made up my mind what I “think” about it and the emotion associate just pops right in. Remember when I mentioned that emotion outweighs logic?

(3) Our Emotions: Right, so by now you are probably a hot mess, angry, frustrated, hurt, betrayed but there are only three ways to handle such an event:

  1. The healthy way
  2. Denial
  3. The destructive way

(4) Our reaction or our behaviour:

The denial phase: This response is as negative as it gets as issues aren’t dealt with but rather stuffed into our little compartments to be ignored until conflict calls for it. An emotionally unavailable person might look like someone that never shows any sadness or happiness.  They just always seem to be neutral.  This could be a sign of an emotionally unavailable person. Unfortunately, with people who aren’t as emotionally inclined as you and I, we have one of two choices: (1) Stick it out and learn to handle tricky situations in a way that is better suited to your partner and your relationship. (2) You need to say your goodbyes and start a new.

The destructive response: When you hear the term “Destructive behaviour”, it may lead someone to think about making sarcastic remarks to the person who snubbed you.  It could even be yelling and hurling insults at them as mentioned earlier on in my blog post.  We may even just give them the cold shoulder as our response going forward to avoid having these emotions weigh us down.  But this is not going to help anybody.  If they are lost in their own thoughts or have history that makes them incapable of a healthy response, such as coming from an abusive or sexual background. then none of the above is going to help.  Destructive responses end up hurting someone and it’s always yourself and many times someone else too. Remember, words are like toothpaste, once they have been said and squeezed out of you, you cannot take them back.

The healthy response: To tip the scales in our favour toward a healthy response, it’s always good to think about the event.  Go back to Step One.  Remember that if the event has happened a number of times then we may have turned off our thinking and flipped on auto-pilot straight to emotion.  Once you allow yourself time to think, then healthier responses are coming.  In this circumstance, maybe you realise that the other person is hurt by some other trauma or perhaps just doesn’t have the capacity to relate to you at this time.  I know it’s hard but allow them the GRACE OF SPACE. If you did cause the issue then be open to talking with them when they are ready.  just because you’re ready to resolve doesn’t mean they are.

For more, please keep checking my blog or pop me a line!

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