The more we know about what drives us, the stronger our #emotionalintelligence. Uncertainty drives much behavior.
Emotional Fitness Thoughts and Tips
Guru and retired Harvard Researcher Jerome Kagan centered much of his research on how uncertainty twists our thinking, lets emotions rule, and is a major source of anger, fear, depression or despair.
He points out that much of an ‘infant’s time is spent taking in information from the surrounding environment. This leads to beliefs that “What is ought to be.” Once such a belief forms it is held to with great subborness.
Understanding this idea about how our brains get programmed, makes it much easier to understand why abused children seem to invite abuse by being or in time more easily become victims of domestic abuse as adults. How ? One of my many foster children, explained it to my husband and I when we first struggled with learning to care for previously abused children.
Here is what he said, “You treat us better than our parents, that hurts, be more like them, smack us around once in a while.”
His hurt was the uncertainty created about whether his and the other foster children were loved by their parents. Of course, most were. However, because that love came with abuse, the children believed “Abuse was part of love.”
Our refusal to smack our foster children around challenged those this idea about the meaning of love creating doubt and uncertainty about whether their parents loved them. Much of our foster children’s behavior was their efforts to get us to behave more like their parents. The more we could be made punishing and seen as mean, the less our foster children were forced to doubt their parents love.
Kagan makes the point such uncertainty leads to what he calls “The Need to Resolve” uncertainty. He believes that after survival needs this need is as strong and sometimes stronger than sexual desire.
Kagan also points out that there are four ways humans tend to resolve uncertainty. They are:
- Ignoring any source creating doubt. Think of people not watching news or not learning the ins and outs of the internet.
- Angry blaming of anyone or anything creating doubt. Think of throwing a smart phone across the room because it makes you feel dumb. Think of prejudices particularly against religions do not believe as you do.
- Blaming yourself and thinking you are incompetent or stupid. Think of the throwing the Smart phone across the room and then getting depressed for being so dumb. Then think of feeling dumb because a seven year old can operate your new Smart phone and you cannot. Religions foster uncertainty by the belief bad things happen as punishments of individual or group sins.
- Despair and giving up on large and small tasks. Think of going back to a land line because you don’t think you can learn to use a Smart Phone. Think of deciding peace on earth is not possible.
What to do? The first step in not letting doubt and uncertainty rule your behavior is to accept that it does. So the next time you feel angry, stupid, incompetent, or like giving up, ask how the feeling relates to uncertainty. That’s the beginning. More next post.
Nothing makes us doubt all we know ,more than pain. The more intense the pain, the greater the uncertainty. Don’t agree?
Think of the almost constant cry from those suffering, “What did I do to deserve this?”
If we can figure out something we did, we feel more in control of our lives and are less plagued by doubt. Reality Check: Bad things happen sometimes because you did the wrong thing, but much of the time because you are not the controller of all that happens.
Think for a few minutes about the downside of controlling everything? Not good, better to stay closely focuses on what is actually yours to control. Much less than you think.
Thank you for all you do, enjoy and be grateful for all you have been given, practice kindness, like, share or comment.
WORD PRESS DAILY PROMPT
This post relates to this DAILY PROMPT : When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?
My reply: Real life is very scary these days. Turn on the news or surf the social media and you will find yourself turning away. I do. Three things bother me the most:
- The pictures of the innocents dying as war makes it way across our world.
- The pictures of abused animals.
- The one sided thinking and blaming rants of all fanatics.
I don’t look at the pictures, but I do try to persuade those who see only one side of any dispute to spend a moment or two pondering “What if” the other side has more truth than you side.
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IMAGE BY mchumor.com