When I was at a bar the other night there was a scuffle; fortunately, no one was injured. I thought that this is what can happen when some people get drunk, they lose all self-control.
Instead of being able to think about what they are doing and the consequences that may arise, they end up behaving in a way that is destructive. This could solely be put down to the effect that alcohol has had on them, yet there could be more to it.
The person, who has the tendency to get into fights when they are drunk, could find it hard to control themselves even if they are not under the influence of alcohol. Their so-called lower brain is then going to have a lot of control over them.
One way of looking at this would be to say that they need to control their anger; through doing this, their behaviour will change. Not drinking as much, or cutting it out altogether, may also help.
It is due to behaviour like this that anger if often seen as a bad thing - as something that needs to be suppressed or removed entirely. When this takes place there will be peace, but until that time, there will continue to be violence.
While it is clear that anger can cause someone to behave in ways that are destructive, it can also allow them to be aware of when they are being walked over or compromised in some way. Therefore, anger is neutral; what will define whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ will be how someone responds to it.
A Common Outlook
However, while anger is often seen as something that is ‘bad’, the same can’t be said for empathy. This is often seen as something that is ‘good’, and this is why it has been said that the world would be a better place if there was more empathy.
When someone has this ability, they will be able to put themselves in another person’s shoes. This will make it easier for them to respect their boundaries and harder for them to treat them badly, amongst other things.
So, if someone’s view of anger is one-sided and this is how they see empathy, they are unlikely to believe that these two things have anything in common. It will be as though one is ‘good’ and the other is ‘bad’.
Nevertheless, if they were to take a closer look and to reflect on what takes place when they empathise, they may see that there are times when their need to change how they feel takes precedence. During these times, they are not necessarily going to care about what will actually make a difference.
Just As Destructive
Empathy is then going to be the first step, but the next step will be for them to think about what will actually make a difference. If this doesn’t take place, they could end up doing more harm than good.
Having thought about this, they may then realise that empathy can be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on how it is used. And, if they were to think deeply about anger, they may come to the same conclusion.
It has been said that compassion is better than empathy, and this is because empathy can be selective or biased. What this means is that someone can only show it to certain people, for instance.
Compassion, on the other hand, relates to having a general concern for others; regardless of what they look like or where they are from. Also, this can allow someone to think clearly and not to get too caught up in how they feel.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.