Thinking we know all about something, thinking the experts know all closes our minds to other possibilities. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge. It should not rule our hearts.
Jerome Kagan, Harvard’s top researcher into human behavior, points out that uncertainty also known as doubt drives who we are and how we think almost as much as the our survival and sexual needs. Once those needs are met, we seek comfort in our most treasured beliefs.
He points out that doubt lives behind many of our more negative feelings depending on who we blame for making us doubt something.
- We feel anger if we blame another for making us doubt; the cause of the anger attached to religious and political views.
- We feel shame or quilt when we blame ourselves for feeling uncertain.
- We feel despair, if we can find nothing to blame.
Emotional Fitness Tips
Tip one: Own your core beliefs as beliefs not facts. Religious faith is based on belief in what cannot be proved. Holds true for most of what we cling to without doubt.
Think about the faith we use when walking across a room, out on the sidewalk, or along a garden path. But the brute facts remain, floors may collapse, sidewalks crumble, and the garden path suddenly sink.
Tip two: Allow others their most cherished beliefs. Maybe they are right, maybe you are right, maybe both of you are right.
Tip three: Fear the rule makers, particularly the religious rule makers. Rule makers tend to by tilted toward the mental disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These are ruled by both fear and the desire to control everything.
Fear is a part of life – we are programmed to stay safe by learning to fear what hurts us. However, most Our brains think every fear is a 911 call, and wants us to respond as if our lives were threatened. Not helpful or we run away from somethings unnecessarily or fight when fighting is not necessary.
The rule makers think rules will keep them safe, but only if everyone obeys. Think about how some rule makes think women’s immodest dress causes men to rape. Most rape are power driven not desire driven. Nevertheless, the rule makers with power over women seek to control what women wear.
Tip four: Actions matters, thoughts are just thoughts. Beliefs influence actions, but are not the same. There is no doubt that a sexily dressed woman might cause a man to think lusty thoughts. As former president Jimmy Carter confessed, “I have sinned in my heart, because I have lusted after women other than my wife.” Sinning in your heart is not sinning in the real world. Sadly, some rule makers have found that condemning sinful thoughts gives them more power over those who strive to be sin free.
Tip five: Realize we are all flawed. One of the main messages of the Old Testament – the Torah of the Jews – is that all humans are flawed. Adam and Eve left paradise because they ate the forbidden fruit. Moses stuttered, he defied God. King David lusted after Bathsheba.
Tip six: Act only what matters. What matters is learning to calm your fears and angers so you act wisely, meaning acting to make the world better.
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Post Inspiration: This post was inspired by inspired by WordPress Daily One Word Prompt: Expert.
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Links of Interest
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.