“He was such a nice guy.” Words heard often when the nice guy or girl turns violent. We wear masks to keep our dark sides hidden.
How hate grows: We get hurt by someone. Our brains collect the hurt in order to keep us safe from similar hurts. The collection of hurts eventually gets sorted out and categorized in a number of way: life-threatening, terrible, I survived, not worth dwelling on, done by this type of person.
The “done by this type of person” is the beginning of prejudice. Prejudices are ways our brain tells us to avoid someone one because they might hurt us. Useful, but very biased and supported by the twisted thinking knowns as generalizing.
Now, it is no longer politically correct to be prejudiced and for good reasons. However, that is one reason people hide hurts that in time accumulate and become hatred of any group of people.
There are other reasons people hide hurts. A major one in the march to hate is feeling powerless to act toward the person hurting you. Maybe they are bigger or stronger; maybe they are surrounded by friends who would attack you if you seemed to be attacking them; maybe they are your boss, or a mate you love, but feel unloved in return and you suck up your little hurt trying to make the relationship work.
When you stuff your hurt it only grows. You are Gunnysacking the hurts.
As Wikepedia notes’ “Gunnysacking is an alienating fight tactic in which a person saves up, or gunnysacks, grievances until the sack gets too heavy and bursts, and old hostilities pour out.”
So why not just express every hurt and ask the other person to stop doing what hurts you? A good tactic but only if and when the following conditions are met:
- The other person will listen calmly
- The other person will accept your feelings as 100 per cent appropriate.
- The other person will change the behavior that you found hurtful or help you understand why s/he cannot change and then offer an appropriate quid pro quo.
- In the end you feel the other person treated you fairly.
- An act of revenge does not undo all of the above.
The measure of intimate and caring relationships lies in the ability to share angers and hurts directly as noted above.
When that is not possible, you have to forgive and let go of your anger. Not easy, but possible. That is what talk therapy tries to do and sometimes does well. The same for support groups.
There is a danger, however, in endless talk about hurts. That danger? That nothing will change and the hurt will fester. When talking about hurt, the goal should always be twofold: to understand yourself better and to understand the other person better.
As Thomas Aquinas notes, “To understand all it to forgive all.”
Understanding all leads to accepting that all humans have flaws, frailties, and act from their dark sides at one time or another. When that is understood forgiveness is possible and forgiveness lessens the power of hate.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or white washing evil behavior; as Bishop Tutu notes it mainly means “Not seeking revenge.”
Forgiveness also needs to be applied to the self.
Here’s EFIT’s Poster Coach about forgiveness.
Those who act in evil ways need to be stopped, and if not able to change imprisoned for the good of all.
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LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com)
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)Emotional Fitness Tips for Parents (parentsarepeopletoo.com)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)
I am resuming efforts to post Daily, but in doing so, will try to limit the posts to this size, using mainly Poster Coaches, Jokes, or exercises. I will not post on Shabbeth or Jewish Holidays unless I can manage to do one ahead and schedule it.
My PDF eBook Cross-Train Your Brain is still free and will remain so until I finish the next one, Defang Fear In All Its Disguises. So if you have not downloaded it yet, do so now. It will soon cost a pretty penny.
This post was inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt “Masks” and is a re-post of a blog I sis in 2015.