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If I asked you what was the most powerful emotion of all, what would you guess? Anger? Sadness? Grief? Lust? Joy? Well, it turns out that the most powerful emotion of all is humiliation.
The Journal of Neuroscience published the results of a unique study that probed deep into human emotion back in 2014. Two Dutch scientists had conducted an experiment in which they exposed test subjects to a wide range of scenarios to evoke some of the most primal human emotions– joy, anger, etc. Subjects were hooked up to an electro-encephalogram (EEG) in order to quantitatively measure their brains’ cognitive response to powerful emotions. Turns out that the most powerful emotional experience, as measured by the sheer volume of human brain activity and neurological reaction, was humiliation.
Would you have guessed that? I sure didn’t.
But I have to admit it makes a lot of sense when I thought more about it. I’ve certainly felt humiliated a lot of times in my life and that feeling really stayed with me, long after the humiliating moment had passed. I guess it makes sense though. Deep down we human beings are social creatures. We all, to varying degrees, seek acceptance from the group.
I do understand why conformity is so much easier than standing apart from the crowd, even when the crowd makes absolutely no sense. People who don’t conform are often labeled “trouble makers,” “instigators,” “pushy” and “a pain in the ass.” At other times, independent thinkers are also labeled “thought leaders,” “cultural creatives,” “crazy” and even, “wise.”
However, what other people think of me is really none of my business. My business is the only thing I need to be focused on: being kind, compassionate, caring and considerate at all times, in all places and under all conditions, with everyone as well as myself, without exception.
That business keeps me plenty busy. It’s also the greatest gift any of us can give to the world.
My mother always told me, “Everyone has good in them. Some you may have to dig a little deeper though.” Each of us has the power to decide what things we choose to focus on. Focusing on the good in people is an empowering choice as well, because often people, (including you!) will rise to the level of your positive expectation.
Do you think it is a realistic goal to be kind, compassionate, caring and considerate at all times, in all places and under all conditions, with everyone as well as yourself, without exception? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.