Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Emotions Running Wild

Every human is equipped with the ability to express emotions. These emotions are created as a result of our sensory system which enables us to experience our external environment. The network of neurons in our brain collects, organizes, and analyzes this sensory information or input and the output results in thoughts and emotions. This output is even further enhanced by other factors such as the release of certain hormones in our body while we experience our external environment.

We as well as our ancestors have lived in an environment where it has not been easy to express our emotions as a new born baby or a young child does. Children at a young age are taught about obeying the rules established by our families and communities, and in our time, also by our governments. These rules, whether influenced within a tribe long ago or by society today, are what form ideals and habits within a given group of people. Our ancestors established rules in their tribes primarily for the security of their people, food stocks, and territory. Children were taught to build a trust relationship with their elders and help, not only the family but the group as a whole, to build and maintain their community based on the prescribed set of rules.

In today's society, life is quite different. Rules, such as laws and regulations, are established at many levels of community and are organized by the corresponding levels of government. In such a society, the government is influenced by the people for the purpose of establishing rules that correspond to the needs and demands of the people. Although, in much of the world, the government takes its own actions without the input of the people which results in corruption and a power imbalance (rich vs. poor).

With such advancement and subsequent growth of society comes an increased responsibility for the citizen to continuously inform themselves of current events and changes that, in most cases, have an influence on the people. With added responsibility comes many factors such as job/money, taxes, media/news, elections, etc. which have a direct effect on the average person and create an individualistic reality for people within a given community. This is quite different from the tribal lifestyle of maintaining trust relationships and contributing to the protection of the assets of the community as a whole.

All of this added complexity can have an intense effect on our emotions. It is this type of individualistic society that influences us to respond to our emotions in such a way that is self-centered and close-minded. We are stimulated to act on our intensified emotions to gain empathy and sympathy from others as a a way to feel better about ourselves. This seems to happen because we feel that no one is there for us, we only have ourselves to worry about and care for. We believe that no one loves us but ourselves. This is the result of living in an individualistic society where people are consumed in only their own lives and perhaps their direct families but, in most cases, even the concept of 'family' has lost its traditional meaning.

Whereas family was meant to be a group that one could confide in and learn from, it has become no more that a unit of disorder and head-butting. Traditionally, it was meant as a way to care for and protect the young and teach them to be knowledgeable and strong-willed so that they may contribute to their community as their parents and grandparents did.

It is true that today there is less care and support given to children. Much of how a child develops is dependent on government institutions such as child care, education and medicine, although medicine is not always controlled by the government. The church is, unfortunately, another institution that is depended on to a certain extent by parents. The issue is that modern and scientific advancements have created more contradictions within religion, and as such has effected education, further causing more disorder within the family unit.

With all of these factors and others, such as increased divorce rates and longer working hours for both parents, has contributed to individualization of society. It is true that people, whether friends or family, are not there fore each other like they used to be. This has caused people to feel sorry for themselves in ways that are not so healthy.

We live in our minds rather than in reality. We have lost track of what is normal to the point that we constantly tell ourselves that we do not have to follow the norms of society because they have not been created in the context of our own lives. We tell ourselves that everyone is different and that we can live the way that makes us feel satisfied. But, if there is no basis or limits for our desires, who draws the line? If there are no limits to our reality, how do we know what is normal? With no guide or plans in life, aren't we then choosing to live in chaos?

Why do we subject ourselves to this kind of reality when modern life has so much to offer us? A lack of emotional support during our early life should not force us to feel sorry for ourselves to the point that we are scarred for life. Some people may feel that they lacked emotional support from their parents and/or siblings growing up. But we can, as adults, emotionally support ourselves even though we feel that we have not been taught this as children or brought up this way. It is merely a psychological habit that we instill in ourselves from experiences that have hurt or betrayed us by people we trust. We as adult individuals have the ability to change the way we feel and think-- no one else can do this for us, except perhaps a professionally trained psychologist who understands the way our brain physiology works.

Furthermore, it is common that adults who feel emotionally unstable as a result of experiences mentioned above may go on to effect others in ways that are selfish and ego-centric. These people sometimes feel that they must let the world know that they lacked emotional support growing up and this has caused them to act needy and want acceptance, regardless of their behaviour. To those who are effected by needy people a common reaction is feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, and sometimes taken advantage of. This becomes a frustrating experience and can lead to feeling betrayed by a friend or family member and subsequently losing trust between each other. What the needy person has experienced is then transmitted by them to someone else. What is then spread is a defeatist nature.

Needy adults who feel that they have lacked emotional support really need to mature and rise above those selfish feelings of hurt. There are many children and adults around the world who have almost nothing. They live in poverty because they have no one to trust or depend on and have never had this opportunity.

But, most of us in the modern world are not alone. We are part of a society, a community of other people that are similar to us and have had good and bad experiences throughout life. We simply cannot ask someone, even if it is a friend or family member, to give us everything that we desire. That is just childish and ignorant. And humans are capable of growing from an ignorant child into a responsible and well-informed adult. Our emotions are just a part of our physical nature that we are capable of controlling. No one will appreciate being influenced or effected by someone, an adult, who feels the constant need to let their emotions run wild. Our society does not tolerate this. The social norm is to be respectful to one another and it works quite well. It helps us to experience true reality, not the reality that some of us create in our imaginations. For these people, social norms are most important to help them to balance their life and control their emotions. If they choose to not accept these norms, they will face an unstable existence and never know why.

You have a choice to face reality or live in your head.

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