|The Wise Path|
—Impulsive and Destructive Emotional Reactions
People in the emotionally reactive stage ignore, misunderstand, or react destructively to the essential and universal signals provided by emotions. Living life to its fullest requires experiencing and enjoying the full range of human emotions. Yet people in the reactive stage are uncomfortable with emotions; they don’t recognize what they are, what they are telling us, how they can be helpful, or the choices we have in how to respond to them. People in the reactive stage may have been taught to ignore, suppress, diminish, or deny their own subtle feelings and vivid passions. Do you know how you feel? What emotions can you recognize and describe? People in the emotionally reactive stage may have mistakenly learned to overreact to various negative emotions while suppressing positive ones. They may be overly dramatic, seek attention or excitement, or exaggerate emotional expression. Unfortunately some are prisoners of anger, hate, guilt, sadness, fear, anxiety, shame, humiliation, envy, pain, and violence without understanding what has consumed so much of their lives. Others endure a lonely and sterile existence without experiencing genuine feelings or passionate emotions.
These two podcasts, adapted from the book Toward Wisdom, may help you better understand and begin to move beyond reactivity:
You may be reactive if you were not skillfully raised in a caring family by emotionally competent parents. Do your best to progress toward emotional competency.
Reactive people are at the unconscious incompetence learning level. The emotionally reactive stage is difficult, destructive, and unpleasant for all. Work toward emotional competency. The substantial effort this is likely to require will certainly be worth it.
The table shows the states that neighbor this one. This can help orient you to this state both horizontally, showing the action and cognitive states at this level of development, and vertically showing the emotion levels before and after this one.