As people, we aren’t supposed to be robotic, numb and automated. There is something extremely human about feelings and the emotions that often follow. Not that we are always equipped or experienced to know what to with said feelings, but they remain for the most part, as a sometimes-unpredictable constant in our lives. We are at the mercy of our own feelings, and from those of people around us. Ours can be affected by others, just as others can be affected by ours. And I wonder whether people have this in mind at all when they go about their daily lives.
Of course, it can’t have escaped people’s notice that feelings are being cited as weapons in very real situations. But who examines and validates those feelings? Someone else, with feelings. And that’s where things have started to get quite messy. Online and in real life, because those feelings are causing consequences. The action itself is not the cause, otherwise for the most part, everyone would feel the same. Throwing a word or insult is not always the problem, it’s how it’s received. There used to be a saying
“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.
It’s apt isn’t it. And I got its meaning as a kid, and I like to think it’s what has helped me gain slightly thicker skin for petty words, and a better measure of internal stability. Or perhaps it’s because often, I will firstly examine why the person has said what they said, secondly will look at what was said, and then lastly will review its impact on my own thoughts. Maybe other people reach for that first, they react rather than examine. I can’t blame them for that, some people are reactionary.
And I am all for reacting when slighted, or given what I consider good reason to. But that’s part of it isn’t it? What I decide is good reason. And surely everyone is doing the same, reacting to things they believe deserve a reaction. Which is where self-awareness and reasoning skills are important I think. To know and understand really where someone else is coming from, can help to form an appropriate response. And it will be different for everyone, feelings, thoughts and identity are very personal and individual, and usually based on experience. That’s why ‘following the crowd’ more often than not is a bad thing, because you don’t know the real intention, motives or mindset. You never will as part of a large group, it’s the nature of it.
Being you, with your thoughts and feelings is important, and knowing how you came to have them. That doesn’t mean you can’t be part of something, but be wary of something that wants to ‘absorb’ you into their fold, it usually starts with trying to celebrate your individualism, because it appears it will bring them something. And it does. It brings them you, because a group needs energy and ideas to sustain itself, and often I’ve seen how it becomes its own monster, swallowing all in its path of self-fulfilment. I guess the internet and social media are no different. In the virtual world or real life, they behave the same.
But being able to play on feeling, use them against people and manipulate situations with them, means it is becoming more and more important to understand what kind of a role they play. I may work on logic and reason, but I actually take feelings into account when making those decisions. Knowing when to indulge them, override them or utilise them can put you in good stead for an easier life. And knowing how to guard yourself against others using them as a weapon against you is of paramount importance. Gaslighting is a term we shouldn’t have, yet many are familiar with it, and the government itself has given us a prime example of it recently, my article Nudge Nudge mentions that a bit more. And while in some respects, I have time for people’s feelings, and will care greatly about how they are impacted, that will soon disappear if it becomes apparent that person is either taking the piss, or trying to gain an advantage by wielding those feelings. So, we have a fine line that we all walk, in ourselves and with others, and learning to have some social cohesion relies on people understanding that there is a line, and a point where some things will not be entertained. Just not everyone will give you a heads up or warning about where that line is, and maybe you won’t even know in yourself, until the moment someone or something crosses it. But they do say, once you cross that line, there is no going back…