Each person has ever encountered psychological problems. With help of various means of psychological assistance, the harmful effects of the problems suffered can melt away, yet the remaining will make those people suffer even more. Since the feeling of belonging to certain social groups and the need to correspond to this group has been one of the most important ones among people since times immemorial, the plausible problems and the possible ways to eliminate them have to be considered eventually.
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One of the first questions that come to one’s mind when thinking of psychology is the great number of various shapes that a single problem can take. Thus, the problem of silencing that one can think of when browsing through the book by Adler (2011) is much more than skin-deep. Rooting from people’s uncertainty in their own self and their fear to make a wrong step, the problem of silencing often grows further into the problem of self-identification. Losing the touch with him-/herself, a person can practically lose the touch with the entire world.
Considering this aspect in his book, Adler emphasizes the necessity to break the wall of the social boycott which the one silenced is doomed to experience. Instead of helping the others build a wall of alienation from him-/herself, one has to do everything possible to break it. Incorporating all the possible means, one will necessarily find a person to cooperate with and fight the opponents decently. Compared to the method of Shield Wall, one has to do everything possible to resist the boycott. According to what James D. experienced, silencing is one of the most severe ordeals that a person can take:
He endured insults and occasional brickbats tossed in his direction; he saw his mail mutilated and his locker vandalized. And hardly anyone, even a close friend who wept when he heard the silencing decision, would talk to him in public. Under those conditions, most cadets resign. (Adler 2011, 4)
Indeed, according to what most psychologists claim, silencing is one of the hardest things that one can ever experience, and by far the most violent. Even a direct attack would not have caused the harm that the silencing tactics produced.
Another aspect of interest that one can pick in the book by Adler is the issue of language barriers and the means to eliminate them. On the one hand, it seems quite natural that different languages presuppose differences in culture and the vision of the world. Yet the problem of understanding between people of different nationalities remains open. There is still the fact that people manage to understand each other despite the language gap. Is there anything that helps pole to find a common language? Can there be some chemistry between people that helps them to socialize?
According to what Adler (2011) says, language is both a barrier and at the same time a bridge between people. This might seem a bit confusing at first, on second thought the logic of the author proves impeccable: indeed, with help of certain signs that the language is composed of and that are common in most cultures, people can find the link that will reunite them. Therefore, the aspect of cultural difference can be considered beaten.
There is no doubt that modern society treats emotions in rather a controversial way. On the one hand, most people agree that letting one’s feelings go can prove positive for the overall psychological state of a person and even enhance progress in the emotional sphere. Yet on the other hand, in the modern world, the excessive sharing of emotions is considered something not worthy, and even as something shameful. As a rule, most men tend to hide their strongest emotions from others, which results in numerous stresses and depression, including nervous breakdowns. Therefore, unless people start realizing that their emotions are an integral part of themselves, society cannot be considered completely healthy. Brewing within one’s soul, emotions can bring to certain conflicts, which is rather undesirable. This means that the only way to control one’s emotions is to realize their existence and understand their nature better.
Consequently, people have to acquire such skills as emotional intelligence. Taking account of their mood and the reasons for a certain state of mind, people will be able to continue their self-development, both psychological and professional. As Adler (2011) claims, “Studies show that emotional intelligence is positively linked with self-esteem, life satisfaction, and self-acceptance, as well as with healthy conflict management and relationships” (122). Indeed, once acknowledging one’s personal needs and wants, together with the feeling that one might have, a person will be motivated for his/her further development. Moreover, such practice can help one get rid of the complexes connected with popular stereotypes, one of the most widespread beings “men do not cry”.
Speaking of the issues that can be considered the most topical, one has to mention nonverbal communication. Like any other means of communication, it does include the usual number of elements, yet due to its peculiarities. Therefore, many people would like to find out more about this way of socializing. Since it can convey both innocent messages and sarcasm (Mehrabian 2007), this is far more powerful tool than one could have thought.
In contrast to what one might have thought, nonverbal communication is a part of the communication process in general, not merely a separate unit. Therefore, its clockwork helps people to communicate their ideas better, for words often prove rather insufficient means of demonstrating one’s point of view. According to Adler, “Nonverbal communication performs a third valuable social function: conveying emotions that we may be unwilling or unable to express – or ones that we may not be even aware of” (203). Thus, nonverbal communication can prove the Achilles hill of the speaker and reveal his/her disguise to the public without even the speaker’s knowledge of the mistake that (s)he makes.
The last, but not least comes the issue of conflicts. Despite the fact that the problem is greatly widespread and every single person has faced it at least once in his/her life, it seems that this issue will remain on the agenda of psychologists for good. Happening due to the incompatible personal aims of the participants, conflicts can be either constructive and productive or lead to nowhere, but there is a common feature that embraces all types of conflicts – they are all wearing and tiresome, time- and energy-consuming. However, the issue of conflict is a double-sided sword, since it provides both negative and positive results, the former prevailing. There is no secret that with help of conflicts, people can give vent to the strain within in a relatively safe way. For instance, Adler claims, “Every relationship of any depth has at all conflict” (380).
Still, it is clear that conflict must lead to certain results; otherwise, it will be a useless waste of time. Analyzing the most typical patterns of conflicts among people, one can see a peculiar tendency: Considering the possible tactics for conflict, one can find out that these can be subdivided into three main types, which are: aggression, indifference and reasoning. Out of the abovementioned, the later is considered the most constructive means of solving conflicts. Tackling the problem in such a way, the opponents both find the solution that suits both of them and understand that the reason for the confrontation lies not in their attitude toward each other, but in their personal preferences and common sense. However, Rancer (2010) claims that aggressive tactics can prove useful and constructive as well (411). Yet it must be admitted that Rancer’s approach is not suitable for official situations.
Therefore, Adler makes it clear that most psychological problems can be tackled once a person realizes the problem and is willing to do something about it. With help of the constructive analysis of ones’ emotions, a person can reach the top in building relationships, both personal and professional. Though cognizing oneself is one of the most complicated tasks, a man can manage it when making a certain effort. In spite of the fact that the process can be lifelong, it is still worth beginning. Discovering the most peculiar spectrum of one’s emotions and traits of character, a person will obtain the most valuable psychological experience and take a gripping and thrilling journey.
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Adler, R. B. (2011) Looking Out, Looking In, 13th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Cengage Learning.
Mehrabian, A. (2007) Nonverbal Communication. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Rancer, A. (2010) Arguments, Aggression, and Conflict: New Directions in Theory and Research. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.