The Emotion Dam



Youth Sections
"The Braves Arise"

ver wondered why we tend to lose out on the proximity we once shared with our friends despite our well-intentioned acts? Ever wondered why others around you can maintain a consistent level of proximity with those people even though their love for them wasn't half as much as your love for close ones? Here's something that could possibly throw some light and I shall not advocate a particular way of dealing with things, but try to analyze why it happens and what could be considered while reflecting upon that.

Think of a dam. A dam is constructed in order to control and channel the flow of waters to regions that require water. It also helps accumulate the required amount of water in order to prepare for a drought like situation. It helps to channel the water flow when there's heavy rainfall. However, it does collapse at times when there are floods. One reason (and certainly not the only reason) why we tend to distance away some of our close ones is when we don’t have a dam in place for our emotions. I am aware some of you shall instantly disagree and perhaps consider this as a "controlled" and "artificial" way of living. My only response to that is that we live in a world where people around us have individual idiosyncrasies. We should not take for granted or even expect that people around us and our close ones will be able to tolerate and understand the uncontrolled flow of our emotions, almost certainly not for a long period of time. And in order to have a healthy emotional equation with them, we perhaps need to follow that "controlled" way of living.

Such an "emotion dam" can help one channel the flow and direction of emotions. If we are protective about a friend or a close one, we must assess how comfortable that friend or close one is with that protectiveness and at what level of protectiveness would make that comfort convert into discomfort. If one is possessive about someone, the same level must be assessed. Otherwise, we're surely going to scare the recipient of that protectiveness or possessiveness away. The danger word in any relation is "suffocate". Mind you, this is not about "mind games". The construction of such a dam is what we refer to as being "understanding" and "considerate". Successful relationships, whether friends, siblings, parent-child or a loved one thrive greatly on this one aspect - "understanding". That understanding occurs when you construct a strong durable "emotion dam" within yourself. Just like there's a significant amount of research and data collection done in order to know which areas need how much water, we need to do the requisite amount of observation of our close ones and their idiosyncrasies in order to ensure that we don’t over-flood them with our emotions. The corollary to this is when the water flow to a particular area isn't adequate either due to miscalculation or lack of requisite amount of water or over-allocation to one source. The same happens when your emotions don't adequately flow to some of your close ones or when you turn cold and insensitive and emotions evaporate or when your emotions flow to a segment of your close ones.

Indeed, there are times when you cannot control the flow of your emotions. Just like the dam cannot control the flow of water when there's a cloud burst, our emotion dam shall also not be able to withstand an emotional burst. We're human and just like nature God whose wrath makes crisis management experts feel grossly unprepared, our emotional bursts are natural and do result in unfortunate shocks. What we could do at those times is to gain quick control of our emotional bursts and move away from the heat of the action for a while. Bring in some disaster management principles and assess our bursts. Take the help of time to let the floods settle down. Try to assess the damage that has happened to the durability of the dam and take appropriate measures. Once nature God is favorable, our dam will be back to its operations.

*Kartikeya Tanna is an attorney by profession and is a partner at Tanna Associates, a law firm in the State of Gujarat. Currently, working at the Washington D.C. law offices of Jones Day.

Kartikeya is actively involved in current affairs around the world and has a special interest in politics. He has previously written articles on various issues in finance and economics for various publications.
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