Whenever my husband and I used to get upset about anyone or anything during our workday, we would come home, tell our story, get validation from each other that we were right, and inevitably come up with even more reasons to deeply confirm why we were
RIGHT and why the situation was WRONG.
We didn't even really notice we were doing this, nor did we have any idea of what effect it might be having on us.
It was just a habitual behaviour that made us temporarily feel
better. It gave us some validation, some sense of control, and some way of feeling immediately better, in a situation that appeared somewhat out of our control.
It was a way to cope with feelings that we didn't like.
The interesting thing is that although it felt good to have someone agreeing with us about something we saw as bad, we didn't realize the negative side-affects of this type of support. We weren't aware of the power of using our own thoughts against ourselves.
We weren't aware of our intrinsic "OK-ness" that never requires the need to be right. And we didn't notice the significance of feeling "good-bad" versus feeling "good-good".
Feeling GOOD-BAD comes from...
Being agreed with, so that
we temporarily feel better about feeling bad. We continue to focus only on the problem itself which feels very real and personal. We come up with all the reasons why we are ONLY right, about a problem that is ONLY wrong. We fall into this habit as a way of
coping, but a habit which unfortunately magnifies the problem, makes it last longer, blinds us to most of the possibilities for creative resolution, and ultimately creates more internal resistance and suffering.
Note: On the surface, most
if not all of us feel this reoccurring human need to be right, and that feeling can be quite intense. If we look more deeply however, we may notice that the intensity comes from a compelling feeling, in that moment, that we are not OK or that we are not enough...
a consequence of simply not realizing or remembering otherwise.
Feeling GOOD-GOOD comes from...
Allowing space for an understanding of our "intrinsic OK-ness, no matter what" to arise. We consider NOT only what we think we know about
the problem, but allow space for the as yet unknown. We look toward the infinite potential for deeper wisdom and new insight on how to see the problem, or how to see ourselves, or how to see the world, or what to do about it, if anything. We realize an understanding
of the problem that is less serious and less personal, allowing us to navigate it with more of a feeling of internal peace and gratitude. We see that there doesn't need to be any determination of right or wrong. We realize a bigger picture view of the situation,
which, as a habit, offers much more access to grace and understanding whenever any problem occurs.
Nowadays when my husband and I come home with a problem, we don't always talk about it right away, because we have some respect for sitting
in a bit of the unknown first. If/when we do talk about it, our partner allows us time to vent, while being aware of the ability to either point us toward the experience of feeling good-bad (temporary coping), or toward the experience of feeling good-good
(realizing internal peace).
And so, we have some awareness to get less attached to our partner's story, and hold less of a desire to help fix the apparent problem. We don't add to the problem with our own ideas of why it's so bad. We hold
more of a space of acceptance and unconditional love. We deeply trust in our partner's intrinsic OK-ness, and their ability to realize something new and personally helpful, when simply given the understanding, the trust, the time, and the space to see it.
The beauty of this understanding, of the difference between fostering temporary feelings of good-bad versus lasting feelings of good-good, is that we can apply this to EVERY problem we experience.
Unfortunately, what most
of us may not realize is that all the clever marketers on social media (and on the news and in commercials) are very aware of this incredibly common and powerful human need to feel right when something is wrong. They intentionally design their communications
to either create or magnify a problem and then to offer us a way to feel right (or righteous) about it.
Then, they know that with our newly fuelled anger and our good feeling over being right (the magical mix of feeling good-bad), we will
easily neglect to notice all the potential problems with the marketer's message... the limited details, the unfair/unrealistic comparisons, the questionable exaggerations, the heightened emotional tone, the lack of neutrality, or the lack of any thoughtful
and balanced consideration of the issue.
They also know we will neglect to look at or to question the source of the post, or the motivation or identity of the poster. And, that we will rarely take the time to check any of the facts, and
never attempt to deeply understand the issue.
In fact, they know that we will often get so charged with emotion that we will not even care if it's misleading or not... we will just feel so good to have someone who agrees with us, that
we will immediately share their post, and continue to get the ongoing dopamine hits of feeling "good-bad" with every Like, Share, and supportive Comment.
In contrast, it's my guess that the marketers are not at all neglectful in noticing
and appreciating our enthusiastic and free distribution of their brand and their message.
And so instead of an innocent partner unknowingly nudging us toward the ultimately unhelpful feeling of good-bad (like my husband and I used to do),
we have an abundance of not-so-innocent marketers KNOWINGLY nudging us that way instead. And whenever our heightened emotions are involved, we lose our clarity, neutrality, and common sense, and we innocently and frequently take the bait... me included.
So what do we do if we sense there's any truth in this at all?
And what if in the bigger picture of life, we notice that we'd really prefer to be living in a more peaceful society, and finding more peace within ourselves.
How do we avoid being so easily seduced by clever marketers whose basic objectives of money and power are rarely gained through promoting peace?
Well, there's obviously no "right" answer, but, we can always start with ourselves. And perhaps
that begins by simply noticing or realizing that the apparently good feeling of "being right", doesn't really feel that good after all? And so maybe it's a habit we can start to let go of, if we have a better sense now, that this is what might be going on.