#794 Emotional Choice

Posted by frank January - 8 - 2018 - Monday

I sometimes infuriate people close to me, (family, friends, and coworkers). I know I do it but I have trouble figuring out how not to do it.
I’ve become somewhat of a stoic. Not when it comes to joy or tragedy. My emotional range seems OK there but not so much when it comes to perceived injustice or injury.
When I am presented by a coworker or friend with a purported social or employment crime I have a tendency to think of excuses that may apply to the accused or sometimes I say nothing choosing instead to think (evidently too long) before I weigh in. What these folks want is for me to instantly match their anger to validate their rightness.
The crimes they report seem obvious as hell to them and they look at me as though I am catatonic from shock therapy or something because I refuse to immediately take their point of view as fact and escalate my words, pitch and posture to match theirs.
This is intentional and has taken decades of practice. (Not the aggravating them part, the stoicism part.)
It’s been my experience that words, pitch and posture often escalate what may be a relatively minor incident. Think, “Killing an ant with a sledgehammer.”
I believe that the words and the emotional charge of the words actually shape the outcome of the situation and I often choose to slow down and react quietly in an attempt to deescalate it.
Try this as an illustration. If something goes against my grain and I shout “THAT REALLY EFFING PISSES MY OFF! Aren’t I likely to become angrier than if I had said, “That has me a bit miffed.” Doesn’t my reaction somewhat shape the actual event or at least my memory of it?
Isn’t it the same thing when I am presented with an egregious infraction suffered by my coworker? If I jump into their pool of perceived perdition, am I not throwing gas on the fire?
My choice is to wade into that pool slowly, checking the depth and temperature as I go, in an effort to bring ballast and perspective instead of grabbing a torch to join the mob.

2018 Motto: Be nice…people like that.

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