Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moving Away from Emotion-Based Tactics

It has become engrained behavior to use emotion-based tactics to help others but more often hurt others. Emotion-based reactions are the simplest to extract from human interaction; we use trigger words or make an action that provokes an emotional response. We are emotional beings who mostly have not explored nor challenged all of our emotional states. That is why these tactics are nearly as successful as they are useful.

People resort to emotion-based tactics when threatened mentally. These tactics often involve the invoking of shame, guilt or anger in the target as opposed to the alternative of opening or broadening personal views.

We all have the urge to hold onto our view instead of adapting or evolving understanding. This is the urge to ignore regardless of evidence to the contrary. Opposing or alien views to our own are not the enemy. When we try to invoke negative and non-productive emotions in others, we, ourselves, are shutting down. We also shut down the target of the tactic simultaneously. We both suffer.

The same can be said of trying to invoke positive and more productive emotions in others. Even though these objectives seem to be done in good will, they are a more seductive form of manipulation. If we’re doing something for someone or reaching out to them, oftentimes we expect them to accept all of it so openly and with relative ease. When people are in need, they’re at their most vulnerable; they’re already shutdown.

When we do something we think is helpful for others, we should just do it without any expectation of them accepting it or “getting it”, ever. Otherwise, we’re setting the person-in-need up for more set ‘em up ‘n tear ‘em down. These people that are in most need are usually the most shut down at the onset. The key in helping those in need is to keep reaching out without becoming the obstacle to healing.

There are other options we can choose. We can first not react emotionally to external events or people. I’m not suggesting ignoring emotions or feelings. I’m suggesting untethering your emotional state to events and others. Secondly, instead of doing things to get a response from others, let’s try to just do good things; for others, for ourselves, for our community, for our environment.

This is not easy. Have patience for yourself. We’re being very ambitious as we take steps to transform our life. This is not easy for anyone. Take a deep breath. Open yourself to another way. You can easily revert back to the old way if this doesn’t work out.

Related Ignorance Ridding Posts
The Emotional Dysregulation Concern

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