What Your Reaction Says About You

One of the things I’ve taught myself to do is to press pause on reacting until I’ve given myself time to think things through, gather more information about the matter, and process whatever I am reacting to logically.

Of course there are situations when there is no time to do that, when I have to go with my initial reaction and trust it.

Sometimes that works out well and I’m pleased that I went with primal instinct. Sometimes it doesn’t go well and in retrospect I wish I’d reacted differently.

Hindsight can be a real know-it-all pill. It can be hard to swallow just how wrong we were to react a certain way in a situation.

Hindsight can be an ally if used to inform our future reactions. Next time we’ll be more careful, considerate, and mindful. We’ll take more time to think before reacting. We’ll try to be less emotional. We’ll try to be more informed. We’ll pause on amber before seeing red.

Or maybe we won’t because maybe we did that and we shouldn’t have done that.

When it’s us who have made a mistake…

We may have our reasons, excuses, for our behaviour. We misunderstood, we lacked information, we lost our temper, felt attacked and were trying to protect ourselves, and so on.

Sue W of Nan’s Farm wrote an interesting post about something along those lines: Guilty or Not Guilty?

We may be willing to offer apologies, make amends. Hopeful that those who have been injured by our reaction will give us a second chance, cut us some slack because they’re human too and have probably made mistakes too, will understand.

Being human is an experience that comes with a lot of regret and wishes for do-overs.

Being a blogger comes with a lot of that too. Except as a blogger if you make mistakes you regret, you can grant your wish for a do-over, you can kill one blog off and reincarnate as a new blog and do everything right the next time – all in one human lifetime.

This is great post by Renard of Renard’s World about: 8 Things That All Bloggers Should Consider Doing

I’m including Renard’s post here because of one of the items, and what Renard said about it, in my mind ties in with the theme of this post (which I will get to in a minute).

7.) A Blogger Must Always Respond To Comments In A Timely Manner

We all hate being neglected.

Therefore, we tend to lose interest in a blogger as well as the respect for the blogger who blatantly refused to respond to the comment that we made on their blog.

Also, whenever a blogger responds to our comment in a timely manner, we tend to think highly of them and that eventually leads to us revisiting their blog and leaving them more comments in the comments section of their blog.

The biggest irony is that there are bloggers who wished that people would comment on their blog posts, while there are bloggers who receive lots of comments and never respond to them.

I have said on numerous occasions, “If a blogger has no intentions of responding to the comments that were made by others on their blog, they should disable their comments!”

– excerpt from 8 Things That All Bloggers Should Consider Doing by Renard’s World

It’s the bit about how our perspective of a blogger is changed by the way they respond or don’t respond to us which stood out to me as being pertinent to this post’s theme.

I’m also including one more post link, which I also think is relevant.

Let me ask you as question first – How would you react if you found out that your favourite blogger whose posts you love to read had not written their own posts but was plagiarising the work of another blogger?

Laura of Lauravent69 shares her reaction to finding out that a post of hers had been plagiarised by another blogger: Passing off Originals as Your Own

I’ve had posts of mine plagiarised. That sort of activity happens a lot in the blogosphere for varying reasons. It also happens in journalism, in publishing, and in the other arts.

There have been quite a few artists, singer-songwriters, authors, etc, who’ve been involved in scandals and lawsuits regarding the matter of plagiarism, and it has affected public perception of them and their work, whether they were found guilty or not.

Which brings me to a question that is the theme of this post:

When you learn about highly regarded artists being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, especially with minors, can you separate the artists from their art, or would you refuse to listen to, watch, or read the artists’ works?

Fandango’s Provocative Question #18

The scenario has escalated. More is at stake.

You might be ostracised by your community for not toeing the line of popular opinion and reaction, and your public status might drop like a lead weight into a deep ocean where you’ll sleep with the fishes.

There is less room for understanding and cutting someone slack for being human in this situation.

If you accept this behaviour from someone else towards someone else – does that mean you’ll accept this behaviour from yourself towards someone else, or from someone else towards you or a loved one.

However the basics are the same – What someone has done (or allegedly done) has changed the way we see their work and the way we view them and who they are.

While it is possible to see the creation as a separate entity from the creator…

While it is possible to just approach everything from a perspective of cold logic which pops things into separate boxes: This is work, this is personal, this is private, and never shall they overlap nor meet… because if they do the mind might go crazy due to cognitive dissonance.

And while it is possible to detach ourselves from our own instinctive reactions, emotions, biases… perhaps to keep our other more important to self biases safe and sound.

Ultimately how we react to something says something about us and if it’s saying something negative we may forfeit all else to make sure it says something positive.

Queen of Hearts – Gerda Wegener

(and yes, there is a reason why I chose this painting to go with this post)

I have some personal insight into this matter, albeit without the inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a minor or an adult. My father was a professional artist. How he behaved in private with me definitely affected how I perceived his work.

It also affected how others perceived his work – they regularly disregarded anything I said about him and who he was in private because they loved his work and loved him because they loved his work, they didn’t want their enjoyment of his work ruined by my reality and experience of him as a person.

I envied them for being able to see his work without my cognitive bias.

Eventually I was able to detach from my own bias and see his work with fewer personal filters. But still…

What we know, we know and it changes how we see… even when what we know may not be the whole truth or even the truth at all.

How we react is most of all connected to our perception and evaluation of ourselves – we react that way because of what it says for us, to us, about us.

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”


― Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

27 thoughts on “What Your Reaction Says About You

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  1. Wasn’t your father also plagarised – I seem to remember you saying that a long time ago (or maybe I’m wrong).
    There’s been the whole metoo and that has really angered me at times – people who have been tried and convicted and lost their careers in the court of social media … The majority opinion is not necessarily the right opinion.
    One other thought – if a cancer cure was found to be the result of human experimentation, should we stop using the cure?
    Fantastic post. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Lynette 🙂

      That’s a very good point. The court of social media is rather frightening. More so perhaps because people move on so quickly after having decimated someone and their life.

      And people often seem to be unaware of the fact that at any moment anyone could become the target of the mob. In a blink of an eye the person who felt safe destroying someone else could become the one being destroyed by others. Being “anonymous” does not guarantee protection. But I do think more people are becoming more aware of just how much power each individual has in the workings of the collective, and that the power needs to be used more carefully. I think part of the problem is that most of us have been under the assumption that we’re powerless and therefore our voice doesn’t matter or count, so we’re still a bit blinkered to the impact we actually have and how much power we possess.

      Learning curves take time to navigate, and lessons take a long while to sink in and be learned.

      The question about the cure for cancer has been answered by those who have cancer and have been willing to be part of human experimentation in the search for a cure. As long as it is voluntary, it makes sense since ultimately the cure will be used on humans. If what you mean is involuntary and illegal experimentation on humans, it becomes more complex to answer. I don’t think the cure should be scrapped, as that would punish the wrong people – those who have cancer, and those who unwillingly took part in the finding of the cure. If I was illegally and involuntarily experimented upon and it resulted in a cure for cancer, I’d want to cure to be used otherwise my unwilling sacrifice would be for nothing.

      My father was a big cash cow for the gallery which represented him. When he refused to keep painting on demand, the same thing over and over because that was what sold easily, and cut ties with that gallery, they brought in a couple of painters who agreed to copy my father’s style. One of those painters is now very well known and successful. The gallery marketed it as the “school” of my father. Copying an artist’s style is not considered plagiarism in the art business, unless the copier does an exact replica. He also had an issue with prints made of his work, and refused to sign them. The printer sued him and won, and was legally allowed to apply a facsimile signature. There are quite a few forgeries of my father’s work too. One of them was so good even I thought it was one of his when I first saw it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking about experimentation without permission, but sometimes what’s in my head doesn’t come out of my mouth, or keyboard in this case. I agree, I think if the cure was illegally procured, then those who suffered would have suffered in vain if the cure isn’t used. But could this lead to others feeling they can illegally experiment and get away with it (if they’re not captured) also? I’m getting away from your original post question a bit but I think the conundrum is the same. The person (singer, experimenter, etc) is bad, wrong or evil. Does that mean that the listener (or person who benefits from the experimentation) is tainted by association or is perpetuating the behaviour? Could think about/talk about this for a long time.

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        1. The sort of people who would conduct illegal experimentation are mostly of the type who would do it regardless of the punishment for doing it, would consider themselves too clever to get caught, and would be convinced that they would get away with it. They most likely would view themselves as righteous and justified in doing what they’re doing, especially if they’re creating a cure for a disease, inventing something they believe will improve mankind, bring progress, utopia. They’re the villains who view themselves as the hero, they see the system and others, those who disagree with them and are against them and their “noble mission”, as being the villains.

          They would most likely use the Trolley Problem to justify themselves.

          The scenario of the cure for cancer is not the same as a piece of music created by a sexual predator. That piece of music does not cure cancer – if it does then that changes things considerably. Maybe it makes people happy, feel good, etc, but there are other musicians who aren’t sexual predators whose music can make people feel good.

          I don’t think the listener of a piece of music created by a sexual predator is tainted by association.

          It’s a very complex issue, and it’s up to each individual to decide for themselves how they view the issue, how it affects them, what they do or don’t do, etc, about it. This post is just my point of view based on how I’ve observed myself reacting. Once I know someone’s story it affects how I view their work. While I can detach, I can’t compartmentalise.

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          1. Yes – I agree. My apologies, I was just philosophising, not espousing a position. I tend to want to separate the artist from the product, but I find that hard to do. I think it was Mark Twain who said that what he was is in his books (I tried to find that quote but couldn’t, so it may have been someone else who was noted as having said that).

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            1. Why are you apologising? We were having a fun-intense conversation and sharing ideas and perspectives. I used to think that separating the creation from the creator was something I should do and that I was wrong for not being able to do it. Then Me Too and Time’s Up happened and it made me realise that perhaps in the past separating creation from creator was the thing to do, but not anymore. The times are changing because the human experience is changing.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. My sense was that I had maybe gone too far and stepped on you a little. I wanted to be sure that you knew that wasn’t my intention. I sometimes don’t recognise when I’ve overdone it and so I’m cautious.

                Netflix separated itself from Kevin Spacey immediately, but I had already stopped watching House of Cards. I found it had gotten kind of silly and predictable.

                This situation sets up a conundrum. I loved Horrible Bosses (not the second one) and found it hilarious. But Spacey is in it, and now I find my enjoyment hindered if I’m flipping through channels, come across it and stop to watch some. However, there are many other people in it (including a brief glimpse of the new duchess), and they shouldn’t be penalised because Spacey was in it.
                At the time, who knew?

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                1. I have a hard time imagining you ever overdoing it or going too far and stepping on people. I know you worry about it, it’s part of your mulling. If anything I would say that you hold yourself back from saying things when you actually could just say them. It’s a side-effect of too much time spent around narcs, where anything you say is heard as an affront to their fragile ego, so you end up not being able to say anything even when talking with non-narcs. It’s thinking your voice is louder than it is, because it echoes in your head, a whisper can sound like you’re shouting to you, but to others it sounds like a whisper… unless they have narc hearing and then everything is louder than it is and too loud for them because only they’re allowed to be loud. Perhaps that’s why they shout so much because they hear everyone else as shouting and to be heard they have to shout louder.

                  The kind of conundrum you’re describing is found in many aspects of life and the human experience. To meet it in this manner gives some detachment which can allow insight into ones which are far more closer to home, more personal and private. There are many questions it inspires and asks of us. Uncomfortable, inconvenient, provocative questions which ask us to face both the light and dark within ourselves. To use the conflict to understand the human condition within ourselves, within others, and within society, humanity. Pondering those questions can lead to figuring out personal puzzles.

                  It’s a good exercise for those who have had relationships with narcissists since it holds within it many of the elements of the narcissistic dynamic. The confusion it creates, the cognitive dissonance. The search to solve it with a one-size-fits-all answer so that the mind does not have to think about what it does not want to think about, and we don’t have to feel what we don’t want to feel.

                  Within the narc relationship we pick a side and then stick with it no matter how much it hurts us to do so because we’re afraid of what happens to us once we realise the side we picked was the wrong side. Maybe we admit it and swing over to the other side, and play out the exact same story but now with the other side. Trying to make the side we chose the right side no matter the cost to ourselves or others. It’s like an ex-smoker who becomes intolerant of smokers.

                  Do you make a choice based on each Kevin Spacey film which you might want to watch or do you make a final one-size-fits-all decision and apply it to all his films. But as you pointed out, the other actors involved in the film are okay. And that particular film is one you enjoyed – are you now going to penalise yourself for enjoying something, maybe not allow yourself to enjoy what you enjoy anymore because your mind has decided this is verboten.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Thank you, Ursula. 🙂
                    I do worry about what I say and often stuff it, or I revert to the military model: keep it as short and direct as possible. Narcs cause that effect, oh yes, and if you grow up with it, it just becomes so ingrained, as you know. I know I could just say them, but … there’s always that automatic stop. Much of the time I don’t notice it … until I do.
                    I am thinking about what you have written here. Thank you.

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. Knowing the truth about someone regardless of their “talents” comes under the heading of “You can’t unsee that”. You can’t un-know something once you know it.

    My reaction would be in proportion to the “deed(s)”.

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  3. I think the work is separate from the creator. Very few of us actually know the actors/singers/painters/writers etc that create the things we like. We create an image in our imagination or from their PR people.

    On the other hand, once we’ve learned that a creator has done something heinous, it *does* change how we view the creation. A scratch on your glass will do the same thing.

    This is a topic that I’ve thought about a lot. Bill Cosby, Johnny Depp…
    Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Angie 🙂

      That’s an excellent point.

      It is a topic which keeps coming up in many different shapes and forms in recent times. Yesterday I was reading about a scandal happening in South Korea’s entertainment industry. One celebrity was procuring young women to entertain businessmen for the sake of advancing his business projects, another celebrity was posting videos in a private chatroom of him having sex with different women who did not know they’d been filmed. The investigative reporter who exposed the celebrities spoke about the difficulties of bringing this kind of activity to light because the entertainment industry tends to cover it up to protect their money-makers. The fans of one of the celebrities were sending death threats to the reporter.

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  4. So bottom line, do you condemn NYC Mayor De Blasio for flapping his arms (aka, dancing) to the R. Kelly song “I Believe I Can Fly” this weekend at a church in South Carolina? 🤔 Do ya’?

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  5. What a very interesting article and thank you so much for mentioning my post Guilty or Not Guilty, it is appreciated.
    It was actually my own response to my partner’s Word prompt Fairness on our challenge site Weekly Prompts.

    The word Fairness actually leads me to your comments on plagiarism. I remember a new blogger once copying one of my posts almost word for word. At first I was peeved but then I decided she was new and I should take it as a compliment.

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    1. Thank you, Sue 🙂

      Fairness is a great word and concept to contemplate. The challenge in certain situations is to be fair both to yourself and the other person. I think it’s fair to be peeved when someone plagiarises your writing since it is annoying, and it is theft. The person who plagiarises is being unfair to the person whose work they plagiarised. If they liked your writing they could share it with a link to source, give credit where credit is due. The plagiariser is also being unfair to themselves since they are basically admitting to themselves that they don’t believe in themselves and their ability to write their own posts. It’s also worth making a fair assessment of how they did it and why, and whether it’s worth it to you to do more about it.

      You made a choice which was fair to you, which allowed you to release the peeve and move on, write more and enjoy your writing. That’s a win-win!

      I also chose not to confront those who have plagiarised my work. I simply ranted about it on my blog. Since my writing tends to be provocative I figured they’d end up regretting plagiarising it because they’re not me and therefore probably aren’t used to dealing with the reactions which my writing tends to create 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll have to ruminate on this a bit to give it proper respect in my answers to the questions and my thoughts about it. It’s excellent. It deserves thought and not just a dashed off answer. Wow!

    Like

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