Thursday, April 21, 2011

No Blame Game

You might have noticed that there wasn’t a blog posted yesterday. I reached out to my friend. Sincerely and with the right intention I left a voice message and an email and asked that we have an opportunity to talk.

Staring at the phone didn’t make it ring. Darn it, I was ready to resolve this.

My preferred way of working through problems is to talk it out. Being ignored feels hurtful, but I also realize that people need time and space.

Recognizing feelings is sometimes challenging since they are usually more complex and layered than we imagine. Feelings that hurt us can disguise themselves as emotions we are better able to handle. So guilt can become anger, regret becomes indifference and all of those feelings can transform themselves into, judgments, accusations and spite. 

Recognizing that good people can have bad feelings is a place to start. Even good people get angry at people they care about. Acknowledging this allows me to examine those “bad” feelings and find a way to deal with them in a more effective way. We all experience conflict and it has nothing at all to do with whether or not we are a good person.

There are times when denying feelings will serve us. In the face of overwhelming loss, numbing ourselves can help us to cope. “Laughing in the face of danger” may give us the courage and ability to survive. At the same time, if we never acknowledge our feelings it will get in the way of effective communication.

When I finally talk to my friend I’ll be really conscious of stating my feelings and not my judgments. Judgments can feel like feelings but they are motivated by anger, frustration or hurt. So it’s better to say “I feel hurt, angry and confused” and not “I feel you are hurtful, and uninformed”.

When we can’t get past the need to blame and say “Admit it, it’s all your fault” we should recognize that we are still dealing with those tricky hidden emotions. Blame gives us a cue that we are on the wrong track.

Emotions are not the destination; they are the road that takes us to our destination. We can decide which road to take and that choice determines whether or not we’ll like the place when we get there.

4 comments:

  1. I believe negative emotions are letting you know your thinking is wrong. If you have a little negative feeling you are probably off with your thinking a little. If you have a strong emotional reaction, or feeling, then you are probably way off and a real indication that your 'ego' is in the drivers seat.

    There is also truth here in that the 'time to process' is also a healing and correcting mechanism (allowing the ego to bubble up) so that the true authentic self can get to the bottom of the situation, your feelings and the truth in you.

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  2. Hi Lea, you've brought up several points that resonated with me, your mention of judgments the most. I've always considered myself a pretty non-judgmental person. Yet I catch myself making judgments all the time (in my head). If I take the time to examine, of course, I'm drawing conclusions from all my prior experiences. Comparing and collating... and not even aware I'm doing it till up pops a judgment. I really became aware of how judgmental I am when I decided to pay attention to that for awhile. Oh my, I have a busy mind!

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  3. Hi Lea,
    You've packed many ideas here. I especially like your discussion of the "layers" of emotion and how they might morph into other "more acceptable" feelings.
    Thanks for the post. Laura Lewis-Barr

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  4. I have seen some use the words "Pleasant" and "Unpleasant". In any case, negative, positive, unpleasant, or pleasant are they all judgment? Can we be equanimous without being numb and take them as variety of emotions and take judgment out of this?

    shabbir

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