One person clutches firmly on to the handbrake while the other has their foot planted on the accelerator. Neither gives an inch. The result, is a build-up of wasted energy, channelled in all the wrong directions. Instead of moving forward, you spin around in circles. The result is you end up going, nowhere, backwards, not utilising your energy efficiently, and loss control.
Emotion! A powerful weapon that causes so many of the world’s problems. It is the blinker that restricts foresight, the immediate reaction, and the cripple of proactivity. Within the mind’s eye, images develop, and a perceived thought grows. This initiates the mis-conceptualisation of situations, develops hostility and you believe things that are farfetched stretches of the truth. A catastrophe waiting to happen.
Those who have studied the brain well tell you about its emotional and rational sections. Many things train the brain to develop a tendency to favour one part or the other. Trauma in particular, is a huge impactor on this area of the brain. If you do not train the rational side, strengthen it like a muscle, the more dominant emotional side controls your actions. It blinds you from right or wrong, and from making strong decisions. Instead you see things through murky waters rather than clear skies.
I see this happen every day. It’s a part of my job. For those I see it occurring with, they are developing this skill. If they were a Jedi, they are yet to master (rationality) and control the force (emotion).
In those who are older, you would have expected that they had achieved the rank of Jedi master and can control it, feel it, use it constructively. We can all become susceptible to weakness. Your life is impacted by a sudden change or an increase of pressures and demands in many areas of life becomes overbearing.
We become susceptible to the seduction of fear and are claimed by the dark side of the force. Eventually, something will suffer and it could push you away or cost you the very things that matter most – Family, a relationship, career, to name a few.
Stress, excessive workloads, pandemics, social media, new life challenges/direction, relationship issues and foreign situations are common dealings within human life. Their demands will test your powers. While you struggle to withstand them, little micro problems become big problems. You lose focus, begin to take simple statements, actions, behaviours as gospel, even if unintentional or not communicated correctly. A recipe for disaster evolves.
This is the construction weak decisions and turns a strong decision into an endangered species. Anxiety mounts, miscommunication and misinterpretation are more frequent, accusations develop, and a perception formed. It becomes infixed in your mind, this version of the truth. If you do not master or see the bigger picture of a small problem early, your scope of vision narrows and hides the real answer.
An example can come from a simple situation, say misconstrue words, or poorly phrased words, plants a hyperbolised thought, and you believe it. You lock onto and cannot shake it. No matter if it is right or wrong, its locked, concrete, unbreakable and the powerful grasp that emotion has on you will not let you change it.
This escalation evolves micro problems into major problems. Consequences that should be no existent, become reality and it can change the world of a person in an instant.
I cannot stress enough the value of developing and strengthening the rational mind. Particularly in our current climate and relevant topics. Pandemics, relationships, normality versus responsibility. There are many exercises out there, particularly through Meditation, and Zen that help create the mindfulness you need to solve problems effectively.
I worked in a program that used a problem technique where the two people involved in the problem sit down and organise an appropriate time to discuss the issue. Using carefully scripted language, they confirm the outcome they wanted to achieve before expressing each of their views as to why they may not be achieving it. This both parties understand both sides of the issue in question. From this, they are able to discuss steps that are require to achieve the common goal. It does involve a rational thought process so if the timing is wrong and the emotional side still controls one member, the process will fail or need to start over until a common goal is forged.
I have had these tools and yet by being distracted by thought processes of a weak-mind, dictated by fear, my emotions took control of my actions, fight or flight occurred and I lost something irreplaceable, meaningful, something special.
I implore you, if times are tough, implement a strategy to work on your rational mind. Walk away and plot out the PMI’s (Positive, Negative, Interesting’s). Do a gym session and burn off the inefficient energy build up. Do not let something brew in your hidden cauldron, bubble away and then boil over.
Raise the problem and give each person some time to brainstorm and consider all angles and see it clearer rather than surprise the other party with the burden. Flight or Fight mode will set in and instead of being productive, they will become defensive.
There are many different ways that you can control emotion. Find which one works for you and do not allow micro problems to become major problems. Approach with an open mind and be prepared to hear things you may not agree with at the time. You can then explore them, investigate the source of the problem and put strategies in place to reach a common goal. Problems may have many layers, so make sure you address them all. If you don’t completely investigate situations, it’s like using one band aid to cover many cuts. It leaks out and soon it will evolve into something greater rather than being contained.
Do not be the person that walks away from the problem, then returns and expect it to be solved without doing the work to achieve this. Come back with a clear mind and rationality.
Explore these options. Make strong decisions. You want to feel like a sunny day, not like a cloudy, rainy day. All that comes from it is pain, sorrow, frustration, anger, bitterness, resentment, misery and a horrible hollow feeling when you lose something big. What could have been rather than what can be. Take control of your destiny. Strengthen your rational thoughts, as control of this will direct you in a positive direction.