• June 8, 2016

    Sometimes I get very emotional in my reactions to other people. What is my responsibility for the impact my reactions have on others?

    First, you are only truly responsible for what you do voluntarily. You may be held accountable for your reactions but it would be a stretch to say you are responsible. Your reactions are just that, reactions. They are produced automatically so why pretend otherwise? You could try to repress your expressions, which could possibly prevent communicating the emotional effect to others, but there are many unhelpful consequences of repression, as we have discussed before.

    As a member of the work group, you are responsible for attempting to observe your reactions impartially. To observe impartially, you must not repress. Why is that? Repression is hiding your reactions, is it not? Repression is almost always the result of judgment and judgment does not allow impartial observation…it is the antithesis of it. Further, repression is a learned mechanical behavior which becomes just as involuntary as the reaction that is being repressed.

    As a member of the work group, you are also responsible for not blaming your reactions on others. Blaming others is not impartial and it also biases observation.

    After much impartial observation of self, you may come to know your reactions sufficiently well, and you may have developed such an indifference to them, that it may be possible not to express reactions AND not suppress them. Perhaps we can call this voluntary suppression. The impulse to react is held as energy, not expressed, neither defended nor rejected. Only then can it be said that you are responsible for the impact of your reactions on others.

    The likelihood is that joining a real work group will make you more reactive at first because the emphasis is no longer on being polite.

    There is no room for political correctness in a work group. The essence of political correctness is the idea that people have the right not to be offended by others. In a work group, you give others the right to offend you and you in turn have the right to offend. The right to offend is given because the opportunity to observe our mechanical selves in action has great value. It does not mean you set about to offend others for sport or pleasure. But it does mean that being offended is welcomed as a work opportunity, otherwise the work group is dead.

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