Dealing with emotional texts

Reading is a sort of conversation, and like any conversation, it can be stressful. If you disagree with the author and his arguments, will you be able to consider them openly? If reading the text strikes some old wound in your soul, will you focus on the text or your own pain? If you are looking for a quick fix, will you listen to a long-term solution description? There are several strategies you can use to read the materials you do not want to read.

Modify the intensity of your response.

This is probably the best and simple solution. This article shows a simple method to reduce stress by using numbers. Numbers are calm and simple, and abstract. Using numbers we distance ourselves from the subject. We can try even to scale our own emotions and see the impact of what we read. If the numerical analysis is not your thing, you could visualize the subject and modify the visualization till it generates a less emotional response. Quite often our beliefs do not allow us to see the reality properly. So we may want to reframe. This article tells how to deal with some harmful beliefs. If you can change yourself, you can adapt to reality quite easily.

Modify the situation you are considering.

This great article shows some examples of how to think about the situation in a different way. Typically by looking at the subject from different viewpoints we get a deeper and wider understanding of the subject. Moreover, many perspectives could be objective enough to reconcile you own viewpoint with the viewpoint of the author. In many conflicts, there are two sides, and then there is a third party mediator, whose position is partially acceptable by both sides. Try to use the mediator viewpoint. Some things appear to be very different, and yet they represent different aspects of the same thing. This zen understanding of illusion at the heart of every conflict will help you deal with many complex situations. if you meditate, this response should be very easy, however, if you do not meditate it can be quite hard.

Engage the author

This article describes how you can use active listening with people. You can do the same with texts. Why is the author using this particular argumentation? What is causing his reaction? What are the historical influences and references? How are other authors responding to this particular text? Active listening is a sort of superpower that will allow you to handle even the most difficult texts. Being a very powerful response, active listening is also very consuming. In addition to reading the original text, you need to detour and research for much more information regarding the context of the text. Asking questions and reading different answers may also lead you into new directions and surprising conclusions.

We should be able to read emotional texts without being manipulated by the author or by the critics. It may be difficult at first, so you may want to practice.

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