Extroverted Critic: “You Need to Be More eMOtional”

“Sometimes you need to let go man and just go with your eMOtions. You think too much.”
What Subtle person hasn’t spent years getting bombarded with this platitude?

The critic is usually well-meaning and just trying to help, but it gets old and comes across as patronizing.

It’s implicit in their advice that they, and outgoing people in general are superior emotional beings who feel more while I’m some sort of semi-automaton.
Why do they feel more? Because they talk about it more of course. And if one’s feelings are not talked about or otherwise put on display, they don’t exist, right? Truly the Loud ethic at work!

I’m appalled sometimes at the insensitivity of social normals. They expect me to explicitly verbally communicate every little thing to them. If they were the EQ geniuses they would have me believe, why are they utterly unable to read some pretty obvious non-verbal cues that indicate my mood, especially while they’re talking down to me? But somehow totally clueless, they keep prattling on.

What they do not realize:
‘Emotion’ means very different things in the sunny surface Loud world than in the Subtle shadow lands.

To your normal person who feels comfortable within the Accepted orthodoxy, emotion refers to the overpowering instinctual survival impulses, though they would not recognize them as such.
In other words:
They worship sheer intensity of feeling whatever that feeling it might be.
Look at the heroes through whom they live vicarious lives in film and fiction!
In their world, bigger is better.

True emotion, however, is more than just capricious passions.

It is distinguished first not by intensity, but by breadth and nuance. A single overwhelming emotion is like a plain lump of white sugar. A complex blend of understated, interrelated emotions that must be puzzled out through introspection, this is a chocolate mousse cake.

To one who is subtle, simply going out for a casual walk and lapsing into a contemplative state as the sun sets and the shadows grow long is a real emotional experience.

The thing we feel when experiencing mortal fear, obsession, or despair, or exultation is just a momentary rush. It puts us outside of our own self and overwhelms the faculties.
Recalled later whether fabulous or traumatic, it’s almost dream-like…never quite real.
We weren’t feeling it, it was feeling us.

Ultimately, the small thing felt intensely is more powerful than the large thing that consumes us. Because in so doing we develop a sense of self and grow closer to it. It makes one less a passive, reactive animal, more aware of what lies within.
Feeling in the Subtle way doesn’t just happen to us. It’s a capacity in oneself that must be nurtured and encouraged to flourish.

In short,
The Subtle emotion must be cultivated within humans, it makes us more powerful
The Loud emotion is common to all animals, it overwhelms us and forces us to submit.

This basic difference I think, is why I feel resentment when I am advised to be less analytical or get in touch with my emotions. If only they would understand! Not only do I feel deeply, but have a different understanding of what it is to feel. I often wonder how I would explain, only to subsequently realize that there’s no way I could do so within normal, acceptable conversation.
And having realized this, it’s almost as if they’ve slapped me in the face, while my hands are tied behind my back!
And there’s no way I can explain this to them either…

Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion (and elsewhere).

Extroverted Critic: “You Need to Be More eMOtional” appears here by permission.

[images via Flickr/Creative Commons]

on 09/19/11 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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