Why are human beings so cruel to each other? What possesses us to inflict such ugly emotional wounds on one another for no other reason than to feel better about ourselves? Yet when we think about it, the reality is that we don’t feel any better about ourselves by seeing someone we care about hurting. Is it not the truth that in seeing them in pain as a result of our own selfish need for satisfaction leaves us feeling unfulfilled and guilty?
I know that frequently I have fallen short of the mark myself, and used the cutting edge of my tongue to whip lash someone that has angered or insulted me. It is something that all too often we do without thinking first of the damage that our words might cause, or the final effects of the sentiment we meant during our verbal assassination of someone. So if it is something that even I do, what is it that causes us to be so senseless about each other feelings?
I think that in the first instance we are vulnerable to allowing people that we believe we can trust in too quickly to the thoughts and feelings that we hold dear and cherish, and in choosing to trust someone with these intimate details about ourselves, we expose ourselves to the risk of being let down by people that are just as human as ourselves, and capable of using the information they hold in their hands to cut and tear us apart.
I also believe that we are quick to place expectations on people. It is easy to expect to be treated in the same manor as you treat someone; however, this is not a concept that is easily learnt by our modern society. We are far too prone to think first for ourselves as our survival instinct kicks in and causes us to protect ourselves at the mercy of anyone that gives us a slight edge.
Relationships are complex and tricky things at the best of times. When you throw the big five emotions of happiness, trust, fear, anticipation and love, that relationships with friends, partners and family can go very very wrong. I believe it is critically important to understand the power of certain emotions, and when we truly understand the reasons behind our emotions, we can begin to get to grips with our true feelings.
Feelings are the result of emotions. For example the emotion of happiness or joy will lead to feelings of affection, optimism, gratefulness and contentment. On the flipside of that coin, the emotion of Anger would cause feelings of disappointment, aggressiveness, rage and exasperation. These are certainly not a comprehensive list of feelings associated with emotions, just examples of the types of feelings that we can associate with our emotions, and in so doing, we gain a clearer picture of the processes going on in our head.
I have always found that in situations of high emotion it is always best to bite your tongue and think things through before deciding on what to say, how to say it and when it should be said. Words are very powerful things and we can break someone’s self confidence simply by choosing to condemn them at a time of vulnerability.
I was recently faced with a difficult situation of complex emotions and a difficult set of circumstances that caused me a significant amount of stress. In dealing with the situation I sit here now and can clearly trace a line of emotions starting from Anger, ranging through Disappointment, Surprise, Fear, Disgust and ending in sadness. However, this did not give me reason or cause to set out on a vendetta against the individuals that caused me so much grief. It was left to me to be more careful and seek to understand. Yes I had perfect cause to feel angry and saddened at being let down by people I trusted so, and I could easily have cast them aside and condemned them. I could have spoken out in harsh terms and further humiliated people that were already feeling low through the guilt of knowing they had let down a multitude of people. However what would that have achieved? Would I have found myself any better off? Would I have been able to change my own circumstances through belittling another person? No, truth be told it was more beneficial to me to be understanding and try to forgive. In so doing I retained two friendships that I regard with some importance, and was able to use the circumstances to teach my friends a lesson in respect and trust. I didn’t shy away from letting them know they’d disappointed me. I didn’t resist from telling them they were way out of line in thinking they could treat me in such a way and get away with it, but I also explained that despite the fact they’d hurt me, I didn’t hate them.
That does not make me a saint. It just shows what I mean when I say take time to understand your emotions and have control of your feelings before you open your mouth. I’ve watched recently as a husband and wife have torn each other to shreds through speaking before thinking. It is so easy to jump to conclusions and get things wrong, and when we do, we find that our actions can infact be the very thing that discredits us in the long run. We are quick to launch out with a barrage of words and ideas, very often seeking for sympathy or looking to try feel better, but when the day draws to an end we find ourselves alone, hurting and feeling estranged through our own actions. This is not conducive to trying to sort out a situation.
Ultimately we need to learn respect. Respect for each other, respect for ourselves and respeact for each others feelings and emotions. We are human beings. Not one of us is perfect in any way, and we should therefore be slow to anger and quick to understand. This is biblical and I am certain that the Bible teaches us good from bad to help us avoid these times of hurt and disappointment in life.
People with understanding control their anger, yet a hot temper shows great foolishness. Let us not be called fools, but stay strong and learn to understand each other. Let us strive to be better people, and reach out in compassion and love for each other. Let us learn to be loyal and trustworthy in our friendships and relationships. These are the things that will eventually bring us joy and happiness and fulfilment in life.