Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Emotional Dysregulation Concern

Wherever we go, we see people suffering, sometimes silently, sometimes not so silently. What is the primary source of this suffering? Finding the source of a problem is absolutely an essential place to begin this exploration into solving the issue.

We live in a society that is plagued by broken emotional regulatory systems. This lack of a working emotional regulatory system (ERS) is the largest societal concern before every one of us. It will bring about increased conflicts, increased divides and increased dis-ease within our society.

In the age of the internet, social networks and cable television, people are less in touch with each other, less in touch with themselves and less in touch with absorbing different or expansive ideas. More information has created a stress upon humanity.

Technological advances throughout our human history, back to the invention of the alphabet and the printing press, all have taken generations to absorb and incorporate effectively into daily existence. It seems natural, then, that such an all pervasive technological assault would create such an enormous upheaval within our society.

We're going to break this down for our own benefit. Having this nifty idea of an "emotional regulatory system" is just that if we do not lay out what that system actually does and how it works.

We must first lay out that all emotions are based within ourselves only. Emotions are not able to be piped into a human being; emotions are contained entirely within the mind and the self. Certainly, external stimuli can set off an emotional cascade inside of us, but those emotions are always available to each of us.

The primary reason for our broken ERS is the idea that someone or something else is making us feel the way we do. If we do not have an initial understanding that these emotions are our own, we can have no hope of ever doing anything about them. As long as we see our feelings as coming from outside of us, where is the initiative to ever explore those feelings honestly?

In this modern age of on-the-go technology it becomes far too easy for people to just avoid situations and people that trigger intense emotional states within us. We just remove them from our list or from our phone. We stop going to places where we see people who may have a different idea or live differently from us. This self-selecting process away from more difficult emotions makes it less likely that we will ever find a way to effectively handle those emotional states in the future.

People interact with what they agree with only, demean what they most certainly disagree with always and don't care at all about anything they do not already know. The sticky problems never get dealt with or discussed, the differences define us and the other guy is always the enemy. You can see the impact of our broken ERS on a small scale and on a large scale; from politics in our country and in our communities, to politics in the work place and at home.

Emotional dysregulation within ourselves and how that impacts all of us shows how much we need each other. When one hurts, we all hurt. How can we strengthen our ERS? How can we help others turn on their own ERS? There are no easy fixes here.

One of the most critical parts of the mind has stopped working for countless human beings. Before we tackle the larger societal problems, we must activate our own emotional regulatory system and begin strengthening and nourishing it. Thankfully, there are countless experiences in everyday that can aid us in this effort.

We must remind ourselves consistently and constantly that what we feel is our own feeling and that those feelings do not come from anyone or anything else. We are not puppets with emotions for strings. Our emotions are our own. The way we deal with those emotions is also our own.