I've come to the conclusion that what people want, more than anything else, is vindication. We want to know that we're right about everything we think about ourselves. We think we're pretty, smart, hard-working, deserving. We think we're right to be happy or sad or angry at others. And we want to know, somehow, that we're right.
You may be one of those people who says that you don't care what other people think, but this isn't about that, this is about finding the truth. In fact, it's all the more powerful to someone that is fighting the system with an unpopular opinion. To know you're right, that you're doing the right thing, to remove all doubt about the situation and just have confidence in yourself, what more could you possibly ask for? It's about convincing not others, but yourself you're right.
I feel that this knowledge is key in my tactics in dealing with other people. When someone tells me how they feel, I tell them they're right to feel it. I tell them I understand where they're coming from. I let them know that it's okay to feel what they're feeling. Immediately, they're put at ease. They don't feel like they have to build up a whole case to prove to me that their feelings are just, or that they need to get defensive with me. They let their guards down and they feel more comfortable to share with me. Our emotions are so integral to who we are, what are the implications to having the wrong emotions?
When I was a freshman in high school, I was way overly concerned about my grades. I did awful on a Biology test once and it upset me to the point of tears. I went to the bathroom and sat on the floor in a stall, embarassed. Embarassed because I did poorly, embarassed because I didn't have the strength to suck it up and move on. Other people don't do well and they get over it. There are people out there suffering far worse, and I had the gall to pity myself over a test grade.
A friend at the time followed me in to the bathroom and sat down with me. It mortified me at first. What was she going to say when I told her why I was crying? She was going to think I was the most superficial person ever.
But she didn't. In fact, she told me it was okay to be upset. It was okay to feel what I was feeling, because it's how I reacted to it. We don't control our emotions that much, why would it be wrong for me to react a certain way? And it's funny, because as soon as she told me it was okay to be upset, I somehow felt a lot better. I wasn't beating myself up about it and conflicted over feeling the wrong things. I just felt it, and then it was gone.
She probably doesn't even remember having this conversation with me, but it was a pretty monumental moment in my life. Something I've obviously never forgotten. I remember it every time I talk to someone who's upset, because often, they're just trying to figure out how to explain what they feel how to justify it, and it makes everything so much worse. And you know what, you don't need justification. Have confidence in yourself, and just feel it.