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Understanding other's emotions

Believe it or not, we all can still find ourselves acting from a primitive side of our brain during most situations in our lives. When a car pulls out on us, we usually react in anger rather than thinking why the other person acted in such a way. This is known as a primitive reaction. Perhaps that person was late for an interview or had a medical emergency? That's not to say that their actions were correct, it's just a intellectual thought pattern that will change our unhelpful reaction at the time and one that we rarely consider.

I feel teenagers, my teenage self included, are a prime example of having emotional outbursts without thinking of the reasoning behind it first. I remember that I used to just argue and scream and shout anytime I felt attacked for my behaviour in the aim of defending it. However, that never ended well and I always ended being worse off. Perhaps the biggest issue was that I never did reflect and the problem didn't get solved at all.

If there's struggles in relationship or connection, it may be that we are misunderstanding the other person and what they are trying to portray. We can find that people seem to overreact about the tiniest thing and take their anger out upon us, and we have the tendency to bite right back, which is never going to help anyone. But before doing this, take a few seconds to try and examine why this person is acting the way they are. The kitchen might have a few crumbs on the worktop and yet you're now part of an argument as if you've broken their favourite and rare piece of pottery. Their reaction seems extreme and your reaction is to defend yourself because you don't want your character to be defamed for no apparent reason. However what you may find with reactions such as this, is that the person is really saying to you that they got a warning at work today, or their Mum is sick. Even as adults we can often find ourselves reverting back to our childhood behaviours when we are going through struggles. This is not to excuse their behaviour and should be told as such, but it may be a subtle cry for help. 

Sometimes when we are personally attacked, it may not be about you yourself, but may be about what the other person is struggling with. Never automatically assume this though and always see where you can improve before looking into the other person's emotional state. Every action that we undertake draws from all areas of life, some good experiences and some bad and we react and assume accordingly to what we have been taught. This is why when someone acts in a way that I wouldn't be deem to be correct or right, I usually take the time to sit back and see if there are any internal or external factors that would've caused them to act in that way before deciding how to react. You'll find your reactions and ways of coping will change dramatically when switching from primitive reactions to intellectual and logical ones.

The opinions of a single life

The other day I was posed with a statement: 'You're twenty-four now, shouldn't you think about settling down?'. It stumped me for a little bit because even though I know my answer, if you look all over social media there are people my age whom are engaged and are getting mortgages, perhaps because they're happy or perhaps because it's what society and instagram shows is what makes you happy and this can be an extreme influence on our daily lives. I think we all seem to fall into this trap of what is meant to be good rather than taking the time of looking into ourselves and thinking about what it is that we actually want as people. 

It's funny how we take other people's opinions so seriously and yet the person who has come up with that opinion, will take no more than a couple of seconds to think about it before getting on with their own lives and yet we use that opinion to fulfil some of the most important decisions that we will ever make in our lifetimes. We all get too easily sucked into what our lives should be, that we can end up unhappy in the long run. All of us feel like we're in a constant rat race to be better and compete against each other, but that will only ever bring us temporary happiness. If marriage isn't for you, and yet it is seen as the done thing, your instagram of your wedding day may be pretty but your life won't be, if it's not what you really wanted. 

In response to the question, I had to look at what was the right thing for me. I don't have to be in a relationship constantly in order to be happy. In fact, a lot of relationships, especially the wrong ones, can breed more unhappiness. There is no rule book that states a relationship will make you happier than being single as it is all down to the person. We seem to have this romantic vs classical philosophy that being single is wrong and makes you unhappy, but people forget about the toxic relationships that exist and own personal preferences, which should all be considered.

At the end of the day, there is nothing that will make you happier than doing what feels right within you. If that means never getting married, or travelling the world and starting a career when you're thirty, that's okay. There is no hard and fast rule, just because someone on instagram has got hundreds of likes...they may be extremely unhappy in their choices down the line just because they felt this invisible pressure to follow the trend. 

There are certain external factors about my environment that mean I am not fully in the place where I want to be right now, but that is something I have to accept. What I can change is important and with that, it is what I want and not what others deem my success to be. Real success is making decisions, that at the time feel right, even if they may not work out in the end. 

Two years

Change is happening all around us, all of the time. It is happening to ourselves every single day, even if we are not purposefully forging forward with it. 

I have experienced more change in myself over these past two years than I have in the majority of my life. I'm twenty-four now, moving towards twenty-five and the last time I felt that I had to make as many life-changing decisions as I have, I was sixteen. During that time I was stripped back to my bare bones and had to build my life up from scratch. This is something I've not necessarily had to do again over these past two years, but I have definitely uncovered parts of me that I didn't know I still had issues with. 

it's taken everything I have had to make it through some of the horrific dark times during this period, but I've also been graced with so much growth. I've made mistakes, as does any human-being, but I feel that I have now been equipped with a strong sense of what I want and don't want and am getting to a point where I can see the light through the trees. Looking back, I felt that I knew myself and the state of play in the world, but now I know this was never the case at all. It took me taking a step back and spending many day alone by myself to understand the change that was right in front of my face. Naivety is always present. 

I've played with guilt a lot over these past few years too, wondering whether I'm making the right decision for myself and others. We all know that guilt comes from a subconscious effort to do the right thing and to treat those whom we love around us, with respect and honesty. If we feel that we haven't fulfilled that or done something that may have hurt others, this feeling will present itself. It's important to note however that the feeling of guilt may not mean that we have always done something wrong as the traditional understanding would suggest, but it can be us putting ourselves first which might be at the unfortunate detriment to some close to us. It's important to keep looking at ourselves and being truthful that if we have done wrong and haven't treated someone as well as we could, we try to fix it. But the notion of that must always be balanced with our external environment. Not every guilty feeling means we are inherently wrong, but we must always be able to accept where we have done wrong. I know I haven't always been right in the past and this is where we learn going forward, because we cannot go back.

If you are making the decision for yourself and not intentionally hurting others, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. Of course, it is about a fine balance but the core element remains that you cannot stop living your life because of other people's opinions or else you would be stuck in the same place forever. We all hate harming the people we are close to, but we cannot maintain the same from fear of the outside perception if we have been clear with those around us to the extent that is necessary.

Guilt is a funny thing. It's something that makes out heart sink and race and it may show us another side to ourselves, but it must be something that must always be meticulously reviewed and understood, balanced with harm and risk. The difficult times that come with it, often present ourselves with the most growth and at the time, we may feel that the struggle will never end but it always does in one way or another. Don't substitute.