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"The Rubinshteinic Butcher" -- How to Avoid Being Overwhelmed by Content

Updated: 7 days ago

An irate young man

The Main Course

Being overwhelmed is a distressing emotional experience where your own intense emotions can cause you to feel uneasy, exhausted, and so on -- an overall negative experience. Since people dislike negative experiences, they would try to avoid having them in the first place. Therefore, people may be more than willing to limit the extent of their potential in the name of avoiding the uncomfortable feeling of being overwhelmed.

Still, we should all understand that other people are not responsible in any way for our emotional problems, unless of course they happen to be our therapists. This lack of responsibility on emotions is one of the things that can easily make this world a cruel and harsh place to live in. Because the legitimate notion of "I can do whatever I want" can also be translated to "other people's emotional problems are not my own".

And yes. They're right. As unfortunate as it may sound. That can even include friends and family. Don't expect emotional-moral responsibility in a world where personal liberties are prioritized far more. It isn't realistic to do so. And you can't choose for people their own priority of moral values. That's their own decision.

As such, the responsibility of handling your own emotions lies on your own shoulders. For that matter, I decided to extend my help by explaining how I, mentally, use a certain philosophy in order to reduce unnecessary overwhelming.

As one who works with articles, I found out that treating them like a butcher, can help a lot. "The ideal butcher" is one that treats his or her job with emotional numbness. They may butcher animals like a woodsman may chop wood.

With time, regardless of the "content" that's in front of them, they treat it like any other work. As inhumane as it may sound to vegetarians and vegans, butchering is just a job for many, and that attitude is possible by actively working to numb your emotions. Why? Because they are in the way.

It is also one of the reasons why I dislike trigger warnings. My readership's emotional difficulties are of course not my problem, even though I may sometimes write on such issues (like in this very article). The idea that one should be sheltered from uncomfortable content whose discomfort they are able to solve, is impractical and counter-intuitive.

The more they may isolate themselves from uncomfortable content, the more they will technically suffer, should they encounter this content once more. On the other hand, exposing yourself, even by small doses, to said content, can help one be less triggered by it.

So, the same as the butcher butchers animals ruthlessly, I write and revamp the articles I possess, ruthlessly. The meaning behind them is important, for sure, but it would be a professional mistake to take said meaning to heart, as that's not the point. The point is to do this professionally in the name of optimal efficency. Because the better professional is one that can handle things coldly and technically, more than warmly and intuitively. Because butchering animals for many is just a business, like writing and editing articles about sensitive topics is a business.

Compare it to the business of hitmen. They make a living off of killing people they are contracted to. Many people may have difficulties doing it, so one has to have some sort of philosophy to handle such cruel, dirty business. It is not the responsibility of anyone to alter their mindset accordingly. No. It's their own.

Of course, butchering animals and assasinating people is not at the same level as handling emotionally-complex articles. Not even morally, and the first two jobs can be far more traumatizing than the latter. Still, the common thing between these categories stem from the fact that creating an emotional distance between ourselves and between these activities, can help us a lot in the form of reducing unnecessary suffering within us.

And it is the moral thing to do to reduce unnecessary suffering in this world, and of course we are in this world as well. It's moral to do so for others. There's no reason as to why it wouldn't be moral to do so with ourselves. Because no one would necessarily have the moral capacity and willpower to do it for us. It is, as mentioned, one of the double-edged traits of living in a world that advocates personal freedom over societal, moral and emotional responsibility of our actions on others.

And to survive, we must adapt to the reality we're in, even if that "reality" is nothing more than a widespread agreement on how things and beings are seen. The point is to not die prematurely.

Sensitivity is a weakness when it makes you vulnerable and overwhelmed. By reducing it, you can become less weak yourself. And it only makes sense to do so in the name of survival, even if that survival is purely in the realm of mentality. Likewise, other people are not responsible for your sensitivities, like you are not responsible for theirs. Take care of your mentality and you can suffer less, like a butcher may do in order to survive in the meat industry.

Be too sensitive for your own good, and you may hinder your ability to profit and be exposed to new content. It also means being less able to create new content yourself, if you are in the content creating business. That's because not all content is comfortable to make, as well. I treat my articles like a butcher treats cattle, like a hitman treats his targets, like a drug kingpin treats their products -- it's just business.

Think of what you're losing when you refuse to handle with your own overwhelmings. I'm talking about potential. About the person you can become. About the places in life you can find yourself in, by being tougher and more ruthless. About what you can earn, by either insight, profit -- and even both.

Thriving is the best way to increase one's chances of survival for the long-term. Reduce your own chances of being overwhelmed, and even traumatized, and you can have a better chance at it. And thus, decreasing unnecessary emotional intensity can help you live -- and even work -- far better. It is expressed by being less distracted and more clear-headed, and that allows you to focus better on your job and thus become a better employee and/or employer. Of course, emotional intensity, when reduced, can ease your mentality and make you feel less pain. Mental, or otherwise.

Ever wondered why people at the top of af an organizational chain are often psychopaths? Because emotional vulnerabilities are weakness that stands in the way of greater power. Empathy and remorse -- even towards yourself -- stands as a filter for greater opportunities in life by influencing your decisions. Opportunities that can allow you to better survive, like psychopaths do. I'm not telling you to become psychopaths/sociopaths (AKA have ASPD). We still need empathy to properly understand people and in order to be moral.

No. I'm encouraging you to become a better version of yourself. One that can be both moral and tougher, without having these values contradict each other. Why would they have to contradict when they can be in balance? As such, the butcher can still be a compassionate being. Not necessarily when he or she butchers animals, but as a human being. There is no hypocrisy in being able to repress one's counter-intuitive sensitivities in the name of survival, especially if that survival is not mental but/and also financial.

Your path towards becoming tougher can begin by accepting the fact that you're emotionally weak, and can proceed by understanding that emotional/mental weakness is not a verdict you can't do anything about.

Don't let that weakness kill you off. It stood in my way, so I was the one who killed much of it. Unlike many, I refuse to be weak. I also refuse being a less-than-good content consumer and creator.

I did what's necessary for me. I did what's beneficial, for you, my readership.


Here are the key takeaways:

  • Emotional detachment can be a tool for managing overwhelm: The metaphor of a butcher to illustrate how separating emotions from work can improve efficiency and reduce suffering.

  • We are responsible for managing our own emotions: Others are not obligated to shield us from discomfort, and exposure to challenging content can build resilience.

  • Desensitization can be a path to growth: Reducing emotional vulnerability can lead to greater opportunities and a stronger mental state.

  • Strength and empathy can coexist: It's possible to be emotionally intelligent while also developing a thicker skin for specific situations.

There may be downsides of emotional detachment, but also benefits for survival and thriving in a world that prioritizes personal freedoms over societal wellbeing. For greater emotional management, we should develop responsibility for your own emotional well-being, and nurture a balanced approach that allows one to be both empathetic and resilient. I would like to suggest the training of one's cognitive empathy skill to do just that.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback

Best way to handle emotional content is to let it be emotional for you. Doing so will tell you how you are supposed to feel by reading any given part. Remember though that emotions are like built-in warnings for us as to how we should psychologically respond to things.
Just don’t let it control your response to people and events. We should avoid negative emotions in our actions. You can have those emotions all you want. Just remember: are they the emotions you want other people to see?
How negative emotion gets spread so easily.... People feel something, go demonstrate that feeling and it makes an additional person feel it.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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