Sunday, January 6, 2013

Default Emotions

In the last year or so, I keep being reminded how often I assume a default emotion. I actually have all the emotions, it's just I don't want people knowing about them. I mean, it's not like everyone has emotions. I don't want to seem weird. Ok, fine everyone has all the emotions - none of them are bad - only our responses can be. For whatever reason though, I just like to hide mine like some sort of weirdo in denial. So, too often, I just front with my go-to emotion: anger. I don't seem weak with anger. I do seem like a jerk/weirdo/spazz (easy to forget that part it seems).  At least I'm not vulnerable though (lies! we tell ourselves...).

For example...
I'm heartbroken that Russia has banned intercountry adoption and taken an opportunity for family away from children. Rage. Rage. Rage.
I'm confused because someone responds in the exact opposite way I would: "Grr. WHY! Grr!"
I'm afraid that if I question something I'll be rejected. "Why don't they just do it the way I want?"
I have a creative idea and am afraid to be rejected so I don't speak up."Why didn't they ask me? Jerks. They don't care what I think!"

Right - are we seeing a theme here? (Where I'm the problem?) I see a theme... (Where I'm possibly a little crazy.)

It's ridiculous of course. Particularly since I really value communication - in theory anyway. In law school, I was always a fan of the things that involved talking it out instead of litigation - things like mediation, negotiation, and policymaking. I still prefer those routes. So, I am, theoretically, a fan of overcommunicating. I'm trained and equipped to help others have healthy conversations and problem solve. I didn't get to do too much of it formally professionally, but I thought I was learning to be relatively effective at it. And when I remember that it's an awesome and useful process, it totally helps navigate in life still. 

I seem to be sort of bad at doing it for myself though. And maybe that's why I was so drawn to it. I needed to learn the skills and I was especially sympathetic to those in need of the skills - since, I was them. Oh humans, we're all so unique. We come at things differently. We really need help understanding each other. I really need to lose the "safe", stupid default emotion, figure out what I really feel, and say so. We all do. We're a beautiful mess. Dig in. The payoff is worth the risk. (Or so I'm trying to convince myself...)

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