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What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It

Protests. We see them. We discuss them. Some of us even participate. The world seems to have fallen into a state of dis-contentedness, as the rise of the outspoken individual or group takes center stage in our modern politics. The true phenomena however, isn’t the high number of people exercising their right to free speech. The phenomena is the effect that open expression is having on practitioners and spectators alike.

We like to think of ourselves as open-minded, no matter how askew or jaded our perception may be. Though there are undoubtedly some whose action is pure – other’s have taken the idea of open-mindedness, and used it as a form of discrimination all their own.

They double down on their beliefs, regardless of what additional information may be received, and ostracized those who oppose them. This ironically causes the opposition to react in the same way.

The once steadfast and just cause, can now take the form of a close-minded prejudice. This effectively leaves all persons involved defensive, angry, and striving to prove themselves as valid. This is commonly referred to as the backfire effect.[1]

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We’re not born to be open-minded.

Doctor Saul Levine of Psychology Today believes that this developed bias may stem from our internal desire of strictly positive and agreeable information.[2] Levine states that –

“…This Denial is akin to Stephen Colbert’s “Truthiness,” in that these deniers adamantly refuse to accept verified scientific facts because they get in the way of their own rigid ideas”.

Every individual wants to believe or hold something to be true. At that time there is still a sane and rational response to added information, and therefore an ability to alter an opinion.

It’s when we forge an emotional connection with the idea or belief, that logic is no longer a factor. The goal is to be right, despite what information may be learned.

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When this happens the individual in question is no longer fighting for a just cause, but rather for their ego, stability, and their personal understanding of truth. This in turn causes them, to close themselves off from anything that may stand to the contrary, creating an endless cycle of misappropriated frustration and a general stagnancy in mental and emotional growth -i.e. close-minded thinking.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t become open-minded.

When we allow this to happen to ourselves, not only does it harm our personal growth, but also hinders the education of, and willingness of others to see an opposing point of view.

Once emotions are brought into a rational dispute, the feud tends to become displaced from a field of reason to an ego, and self-propelled motive.

If we can stop ourselves before getting carried to this point – we may have a chance to not only have our voices heard, but hear others as well, and possibly gain some insights on why there is such a hostile disagreement in the first place.

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There is no solution to an argument once you refuse to accept the entirety of it. We should – at the very least – attempt to understand and reconcile our ideas with that of the opposing side.

At the very least, a tad bit of sympathy, can open the door to a conversation that can truly lead to a solution.[3]

Be willing to step outside of yourself, and you will be granted the gift of understanding.

So before you glue together your picket sign, run to Twitter to complain, or rant for hours to an agreeing friend, keep in mind-

  • You can’t solve a problem, without fully understanding it.
  • Ego can get in the way of what’s right or just.
  • Not everyone is an enemy, they may just be misinformed.
  • Sympathy, will win you an ear. Vindication, will cost you a voice.

It’s great to be right, it’s okay to be wrong, it’s best to understand and to be understood.

Be calm, and truthful in your endeavors. Be open to the opinions of others.

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Stay out of your own way, and allow reason to intervene when your emotions begin to pry.

Become truly open-minded.[4]

Reference

More by this author

Antwan Crump

Novelist, blogger, essayist, podcaster.

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It The Hardest Part of Being a Minimalist That Most People Have Overlooked 5 Ways to Beat Procrastination How to Survive the Holidays. 5 Productive Ways to Multitask

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Last Updated on September 11, 2020

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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