You are not your actions, you are not your behavior, neither are you the emotions you display. Unfortunately, you will be judged and critique over these displays even though it shows only a glimpse of your true self.
We get angry at times, sad and happy, over events that sometimes people do not understand. Sometimes an experience cause us to behave in a repulsive manner, people only see the repulsion, people do not see that experience that caused it. So is it fair?
Its because of a conditioned response. We lived in a conditioned world, a lot of things we do, we did it without deliberation. Taking the train, typing an email, talking to people. Conditioned response saves us a lot of time, we do not need to think so much in depth to the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of the daily things. For the sake of efficiency and laziness, we always seek to establish a routine that works. And we develop layers and layers of conditioned response, mental templates and schemas that helps us navigates our lives, with minimal consciousness. We think we have countless of them, for every single session or experience.
So between people, it’s a battle or interaction of conditioned response. When we get angry, we display a conditioned response to a trigger. When people see that anger, they employ their set of conditioned response, and conclude,’Randy’s an angry person.’ They see the anger; they do not see the trigger. For us, we want people to see the trigger; the anger is only our expression of that trigger. So there is a mismatch of template, and this happens all the time.
Sadly, people do not see that. People see the anger, and treat it like a trigger, instead of looking beyond the anger and discover the trigger beneath it. Stereotypes, racists, xenophobes and other bias works like that. It’s a shallow profiling but it works and works quickly, irrespective of the effect. So we try to explain our anger, why we are angry, because we felt misunderstood. But the more we explain, the worse it gets. ‘Oh, angry Randy is trying to justify his anger!’
And this get’s worked backwards. Soon the anger becomes us. The emotions that we most commonly display becomes us, becomes our brand. Once this is done, no amount of explanation will get to the bottom of the source, the trigger. And if we are not careful and allow this to sink in, we might get angry without knowing why. We struggle to handle the anger, because when we allow that anger to become us, the reasons behind that anger loses the relevance.
Then this becomes a very efficient closed stimulus response loop, we no longer choose a response to the stimulus, because we have a response is ever so ready for use, irrespective whether it fits the stimulus or not. Knee jerk reactions take over. Sure it saves us time, but somehow these knee jerk templates does not work as well as they should, more often than not its like fitting a square peg into a round hole, because not all stimulus are the same, but our response are generally the same. When we meet a stimulus we have no response to, we try a one size fits all response, which does not works best. Which further frustrates us, with our inadequacies.
So we have to be careful, because when we get angry, we need to know if this is a conditioned response, and if it is, is it the best response? What else can we do? And when we get angry, and people see that we are angry, do we need to explain ourselves? Telling people that we are actually angry over something, will it matter if we explain? I’d rather have a response that is relevant to the stimulus than to have to explain myself later on. And if people choose to misunderstand my response, so be it. Explaining will not help, i will let my response be the best explanation.