The concept of the sensitive line seems fairly simple at first. Implying that everyone has a psychological defense mechanism that is activated once something or someone jeopardizes the existence of a person’s ideal image of self, the sensitive line explains the source of numerous interpersonal conflicts occurring in all domains of people’s lives (Whetten et al. 46). While it seems that the criticisms against the subject matter are sometimes way too far-fetched, the very concept of a sensitive line, however, may also be viewed as too convenient an explanation of the nature of conflicts that occur during the communication process, as well as the subtle emotional changes that the participants thereof experience.
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That being said, the idea that the sensitive line exists does imply certain positive opportunities, such as the chance to engage in introspect and develop a better understanding of one’s emotional needs. Therefore, despite its flaws as the foundation for a theory, the notion of the sensitive line can and should be used as the tool for engaging in the exploration of one’s self and developing metacognitive skills.
The idea that the sensitive line exists opens a plethora of opportunities for engaging in a deep analysis of one’s self, which means that it may be used to approach interpersonal conflicts from a rational standpoint. In other words, the application of the sensitive line framework will ostensibly allow for a rapid drop in the cross-cultural conflicts or any confrontations in the environment where the participants are not fully aware of each other’s needs. By rationalizing one’s behavior, one becomes enabled to control ones’ emotions successfully, thus, preventing instances of misconceptions and conflicts (Brazdau 2).
In fact, I have had quite a few personal experiences involving detailed scrutiny of my sensitive line and where it is drawn. The first memory takes me back to middle school, where I had a conflict with one of the students. The unexpectedly harsh response that I received from one of my peers and the following unpleasant commentary about my learning abilities were quite hurtful to me and made me enraged within a matter of seconds.
However, after retrospect into the situation, I realized that it was not the student’s statement about my mental abilities that made me feel insecure but the personal fear that I might not be as good a student as teachers and parents told me. As a result, I understood the source of my anger and realized that, from that point on, I could control similar scenarios without feeling insecure.
In other words, the initial threat-rigidity response manifested itself in feeling hurt and trying to feel the opponent just as emotionally insecure as I did after his statement was converted gradually into a calmer and more objective approach toward conflict management. The self-disclosure that followed the analysis of the conflict shed a lot of light on the personal problems that I had as far as the management of my emotions was concerned.
As a result, the situation mentioned above became the foundation for developing introspective skills and developing self-awareness. Furthermore, the said conflict created prerequisites for a better understanding of my opponents’ behavior. As a result, nowadays, I feel capable of successfully solving the confrontations that would have made me terrified or enraged in the past.
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Brazdau, Ovidiu. ” Witnessing Awareness and Modes of Cognitive Awareness.” Brain, Mind, Cosmos: The Nature of Our Existence and the Universe, edited by Deepak Chopra, Routledge, 2014.
Whetten, David et al. Developing Management Skills for Europe. Pearson Education, 2000.