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Such logic fuels unrealistic expectations and heightens the potential for destructive anger. Whether emotions override logic or the rational brain is ill prepared to correct the surge of emotion. The result is impaired judgment. All of us are guilty of this mental distortion, some more than others.

Anger stems from feeling threat and some form of inner pain, such as fear , anxiety , shame , hopelessness and powerlessness. And certainly, we may be disappointed with ourselves when we fail to achieve our goals. But the inability to be realistic in our expectations makes all the difference between having feelings such as disappointment and sadness, and experiencing intense anger. All too often, child-logic infuses our expectations with emotions rooted in our wishes and hopes, insufficiently tamed by the facts of reality. In effect, it is child logic that may at times convince us we should always get what we want, that others should act as we believe they should, and that we should not have to suffer—even though all of us suffer.

The impact of child logic is similarly prevalent in the current electoral cycle. Individuals in each party exhibit intense anger and resentment toward opposing candidates.

Fuel for destructive anger

Additionally, others experience anger toward the candidate selected by their own party. There are certainly valid reasons for the electorate to experience anger with regard to income inequality, racial injustice, threats of terrorism and deficiencies in government. Understandably these events create a sense of threat and other forms of inner anguish that might include fear, anxiety, powerlessness and hopelessness.

The Rational Good

However, rigidly maintaining unrealistic expectations only intensifies the potential for destructive anger—when they are not satisfied. Unwittingly, like partners in a marriage that has soured, many people are challenged to look beyond their own immediate interests. And yet, maintaining this expectation is inconsistent with a functioning democratic government.


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It may involve recognizing that certain expectations are aspirational rather than attainable. Or, letting go can free us to consider alternative strategies for increasing the likelihood of their satisfaction. Developing more realistic expectations in our daily lives calls for pausing for reflection. It necessitates being aware of when we are too rigidly holding on to them in spite of a reality that reminds us they cannot be satisfied. It requires that we distinguish between what we really need and what we desire.

And, all too often, it demands awareness of how anger can interfere with the willingness to engage in such reflection. Enacting the social. Economy and Society , 33 — Google Scholar Lawler E. Doing research that is useful for theory and practice 2nd ed. Lanham, MD:Lexington Books. Google Scholar Le Deist F. What is competence?


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Let your gut guide you

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Rational Decision Making

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5 Good Reasons to Study Logic

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