Emotional Balance 2

 

The balance between expressing our feelings and not condemning people.

 

When we feel unhappy or upset with someone, we often feel reluctant to express our feelings to them for various reasons, even though we would feel better if we did. Maybe we don’t want conflict or to hurt their feelings. Or they might have the power to retaliate and make it work to our detriment. It always seems like a win/lose dynamic. That’s because we tend to express our feelings in a condemnatory way, telling them what they have done wrong. However, we do not always know for sure all the details on both sides.

 

So, it usually works better not to make any judgements until we have more information. This is done by solely expressing how you feel without assigning blame. The intent should be to open up conversation and learn more information from their side of the story. So instead of saying things like “You hurt my feelings!” or “You insulted me!”, we can say “When you did (such-and-such), I felt hurt.” or “When you said (such-and-such), I felt insulted. But that’s just me. I would like to hear your side of this. When you said (such-and-such), what did you really mean?” In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to make you feel hurt or insulted. If the exact same thing was done to Jesus or Buddha or Mother Teresa, their response would be totally different, maybe in the following manner: They might first think: “Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Then they would probably ask the person to elaborate on what they were feeling, to get more to the root of their dis-ease. It would probably be because that person feels threatened, insecure or jealous. These self-defeating feelings are not part of their Real Self, and is an indication of unresolved psychological issues like the outer consciousness cutting off communication with their soul or inner child.

 

This process of asking them for more information is called active listening. Now let’s say that it is us and not Jesus experiencing someone’s condemnation. It would then be possible that we did something wrong or unkind to initiate the condemnation. If so, and we are aware of it, then it is a test of humility to admit it. But that does not mean that we are obligated to tolerate someone else’s verbal abuse if that is what their condemnation was. But let’s say their condemnation is unjustified. We can use active listening to help the situation. For example: “John, that (behaviour) is not like you. What’s up?”; In that way we are not condemning them, and we are also not suppressing our feelings or avoiding conflict.

 

Men are usually more likely to suppress their feelings. Suppressing negative ones (dis-ease) eventually cycles down to manifest in physical disease. (See Balancing Your 4 “Bodies” page for more on this.) Suppressing positive emotions just deprives all those involved of a much richer and more rewarding life, and the health benefits that accompany joy and humour. Some of the suggestions on this page are easier said than done, and usually require some personal psychology work. For more on this, see the References at the bottom of this page.

 

 

The balance between being assertive and staying harmonious.

 

There’s a general and erroneous myth that to maintain into peace and harmony, you cannot challenge error or “make waves”. This is only true if you are maintaining ‘harmony’ by suppressing “in-harmonies” like frustration or condemnation. (In that case, as soon as you open your mouth, those feelings often become “unsuppressed”.) On the other hand, if you have a healthy sense of self-worth, courage and humility, you can speak up with compassion for the other person, knowing that you are giving them the opportunity to come up higher, providing they are at fault. There is often fault on both sides and things are not always as they seem.

 

So our first intent should be to learn more before we make a judgement, and assume people are innocent until proven guilty. This is best done by expressing our concern and stating that it might be us who is mistaken. This is where humility comes in, but this method can work wonders. For example, if we believe we have been treated unfairly at work, we can say to the person who made the decision: “I thought I was next in line for getting tickets to see Down and Out in Beverly Hills, but I see that John has received some first, which does not appear fair to me. But it is not like you to be unfair, so I must be missing something.” This way we have not insulted a possibly innocent person, and their response will definitely help us understand the situation better. Because the other person was not accused by us, they will less likely be on the defensive, and it will be easier for them to take corrective action if it is needed.

 

 

References for emotional work and personal psychology: