Getting your Reasoning and your Actions to Work Together
In this blog, you will find suggestions for dealing with challenges that occur when someone is treating you in a manner that feels disrespectful. You may think that once you understand a suggestion and it strikes you as reasonable, then all that’s left for you to do is to try out the suggestion the next time you feel someone is treating you disrespectfully. And sometimes this can indeed happen. But when you find your emotions becoming aroused, you may discover that your actions don’t always come in line with what seems reasonable when you are in a calm state.
In his book The Expressions of the Emotions of Man and Animals Charles Darwin reports conducting the following experiment at the London Zoo reptile house.
“I put my face to the thick glass-plate in front of a puff adder in the Zoological Gardens, with the firm determination of not starting back if the snake struck at me; but as soon as the blow was struck, my resolution went for nothing, and I jumped a yard or two backward with astonishing rapidity. My will and reason were powerless against the imagination of a danger which had never been experienced.”
Darwin found that his belief in his safety if the snake struck at him was not enough to get him to act in a manner that made sense to him. Nevertheless, it is very likely that with certain forms of practice over a period of time he could have learned to respond calmly to the lunging snake whenever it was safely in back of a glass plate.
I say this not because there have been studies demonstrating this. It would be unwise to actually train people to avoid leaping away from a lunging snake. People so trained might accidentally run into such a snake in the wild and end up dead. However, there are many studies that involve people who are terrified of harmless snakes that appear in their gardens. These people continue to act terrified even after becoming convinced that the snakes they come in contact with are indeed harmless. Their fright and embarrassment at how they act have led them to seek assistance in overcoming their fear. Research has clearly demonstrated that such individuals can learn to become comfortable when they see nonpoisonous snakes, but they must do some things beyond just becoming convinced about how to act in a reasonable manner.
Similarly, to learn to act wisely when you are treated disrespectfully, once you become convinced that you want to try out a promising approach, oftentimes you will have to take some additional steps so that your actions will come in line with your reasoning.
Fortunately, we can dramatically improve our conflict resolution skills without costing us a dime. In this blog, I’ll coach you from time to time to place some reminders on your refrigerator and to rehearse a few fun bits with some friends. I’ll also encourage you to rehearse some ideas in the privacy of your own mind with the help of my team of artists, Lois Hubertz,
Jack Star Rubin,
and Eric Sailer.
With the help of these talented artists, in future posts you will be able to have fun rehearsing some crucial ideas in your mind and this will not cost you a dime.
Another approach that I recommend is also free. It involves reading a novel called, A Hero Grows in Brooklyn. The novel, along with its two sequels that make up the Cool Steve Trilogy, provides the reader an in depth narrative of a boy struggling to find a path toward respect despite his father being sent to prison and the violent actions of a neighborhood gang.
I hope you enjoy following this blog and I encourage my readers to provide comments, suggestions and both negative and positive criticism.
Some people will enjoy reading this blog by beginning with the first post and then moving forward to the next more recent one; then to the next one; and so on. This permits readers to catch up on some ideas that were presented earlier and to move through all of the ideas in a systematic fashion to develop their emotional intelligence. To begin at the very first post you can click HERE.