A positive outcome will prevail…..
It is getting rampant these days — short fuses, flared tempers, fight breakouts. You see them all over social media and it is a sign of the times. Covid-19 and its effects are taking a toll on many people — -mental, physical, economical, social, and various aspects. We are talking about emotions turning upheaval.
Just last evening, I was driving when a cyclist suddenly hollered behind me. I was quite sure that I stayed in my lane as I turned but we must have gotten too close for comfort. He tailed me for almost one km until I turned into a car park and he yelled one more time, then suddenly backed away. Phew, I wondered what he would have done if he had persisted and came to my window.
Kick my car? Punch my window? Scream some more? Clearly, he was not injured. He was jarred. Incidents are unavoidable but it did not call for such a reaction.
These days, I see more of such scenarios even among friends and family members. The anger demon reared its ugly head to lead one down that un retractable road. The main purpose of life for the day would be swept aside — to get a task done, to fulfill one’s day, to end the day well.
But when all is over, it seemed very silly but the damage is done to relationships, to one’s image and opportunity. The worst-case scenario is when we allow incidents to harm ourselves or others as seen recently in the news.
Some real-life examples of unbridled emotions.
A man lost his job due to the Covid-19 situation and he chose to kill himself when he felt overwhelmed by pain and sorrow. Had he spoken to someone who would listen to him, he might have figured out his way then.
Disputes and fights broke out over the slightest reason like jumping queues, unhappiness over service, and even the hot weather.
Quarrels occurred when people bottle up their frustrations. We see them played out repeatedly on social media in the subways, office, market, etc
As we cannot control other people’s outbursts, we could ameliorate them if we are caught in the cross-fire.
We need to take control of our emotions. In the process, we are managing other people’s emotions too.— It is one of the traits of human beings called pathos. Humans are emotional creatures besides being thinking ones. We use logic to decide our actions but emotions often overrule them. That is the danger.
“We might be the masters of our thoughts, still we are the slaves of our own emotions.” — unknown
How do you manage an emotional person?
1 Stay Calm and listen — Don’ be defensive. Let the other party vent his views and you will get your air time. Talking over each other do not lead anywhere. Listening is what he wants you to do while it allows the situation to simmer down.
2 Apologize — -Swallow your pride and do the right thing. There are no costs involved but it immediately defuses the situation. Especially if you are clearly in the wrong. Denying something that you obviously did wrong will challenge the other party to take further action like asking for a fight or result in litigation.
If you are sure you are right, it is still best to let the other person vent first. Somehow, he may know that he had erred on his part and will quiet down.
3 Empathize — Showing some sadness or emotion may help too. It makes the other person more comfortable that he will be listened to. Never show anger as it is counterproductive.
4 Don’t say the following things;
A) Don’t call them emotional as that would immediately pique his anger further. Listen attentively and when he has calmed down, you can explain your views.
B) Don’t say “It’s ok”. If it is alright, he would not be talking to you this way. It happened to me. Once, I told a distraught person everything will be ok and she lashed back. Better to listen to her story and explore what can be done to improve the situation.
C) Don’t say “It’s not a big deal”. You are trivializing the situation and may anger the affected person more. It shows a lack of respect for his dilemma that he is in.
How do you manage your emotional self?
1 Stay Calm and Wait. Experts call this ‘Time Delay” Let the feelings pass to allow better analysis of the situation and rational thinking will set in. This is not easy but worth doing. Induced stress due to the aroused emotions and physiological responses all fade with some time and we become less impulsive.
2 Suppression — —Keeping your emotions under a tight wrap may be very difficult and uncomfortable but necessary in some situations especially if it does not favor you if you display your intense emotions. Cognitively, you may get affected and even your short-term memory may be impaired but in hindsight, you may be glad that you did not blow your fuse or had a meltdown and save a job or a relationship.
3 Reframing the situation — -This is a very useful strategy as you are looking at the other side of the coin. The situation is not deleterious as it seems and may even benefit you. In the recent Covid-19 crisis-induced lay-offs, some people found the opportunity to switch careers. Some discovered talents in themselves as they took this chance to explore, learn, and upgrade new skills.
This way of managing your emotions is most positive and have less damage to your psychology in a stressful situation.
“Emotions and Decisions Making” is fully studied by experts from Harvard University and other prominent ones to prove the role of emotions in thinking that can affect important decisions. My point is that emotions are such a strong driving force. Hence, we need awareness to control them so that we would display desirable behaviors. Managing self and others will lead to more positive outcomes.