Today I want to share one of my deepest insights into human behavior that I always try to keep in mind.
If you learn the 2 rules described and explained below, if you absolutely live and breathe them, you will wield immense social power. You will be able to understand and solve a lot of social issues - including a great many of the threads on the "help with life" forum here on dA. It's because all of these issues are just different manifestations of these 2 fundamental rules. I encourage you to actually learn them or even print them out.
The 2 Rules
Rule 1: "If someone is angry, they are actually hurt. If someone is hurt, they are actually feeling a loss."
Comment 1: Generally, loss means that an expectation of someone has not been met. To resolve someone's anger and feeling of hurt, you must understand their loss and address it.
Rule 2: "Whatever any human has ever said to another human is at its base either one of these two things: A warm/loving thing, or a cry for help."
Comment 2: It may be hidden below many layers and not look like it, but if someone is not warm/loving to you, they are crying for help. It is also not apparent to them, either.
Note: Rule 1 and rule 2 are not separate, because expressing anger is not warm/loving, so it is a cry for help.
Example A: If someone believes in something or knows something to be true, they wish others to believe or understand the same. This is especially true if emotions are attached to it. If, however, they are confronted with other people disagreeing, they will lose the idea of a perfect world or environment, where everybody agrees with them and their feelings. This loss results in their feelings being hurt, which may or may no result in anger, which (if expressed) is a cry for help.
The above example is a highly general one, meaning it fits to an insurmountable number of possible scenarios. It does, for one, encompass all belief vs. science drama that has ever occurred and will ever occur. In fact, I think any drama resulting from disagreements is caused by it.
Below, I give some more concrete examples.
Example B: Tom drew a picture he likes and is proud of. Jerry says it sucks, or some variation of it. This causes Tom's pride, time and effort to be lost. This loss causes Tom's feelings to be hurt. This causes Tom to be angry. Any expression given by him in this state is a cry for help. Jerry can appease Tom by understanding this loss and acting appropriately.
However, there is a common other direction such a situation can go into. Instead of being angry at Jerry, he may be angry at himself, at the world, at the universe, or perhaps at his crappy bed, which led him to sleep badly, which led him to draw badly. How the anger is expressed and how his brain shifts the blame to something doesn't have to be connected to the picture.
Why would he be angry at his crappy bed, when it all started with a picture? How can one understand this behavior? Again, rule 2 comes to the rescue. Tom is crying for help. Maybe he is poor, which results in a crappy bed, which results in a crappy sleeping experience, which results in a crappy picture - in his rationale. Tom may be crying for help about his living conditions and poverty, because it is on his mind and weighs heavy on him, even if it has no direct link to his picture. He is making an elephant out of something else that started small. If someone has a big issue, such as poverty, any little issue that may have nothing to do with it can still lead to it anyway. If there is a strong need to cry for help on the other issue, then the situation will shift there. It is important to recognize this other issue in order to understand Tom and what he is going through. Then you can act the right way and address the real issue. Miraculous things can happen to people if someone manages to follow this.
Example C: Let's say your mother runs a flower shop. Let's say you are planning a big event of some kind and need decorations, foods, and maybe a cake if it's a wedding. There are many companies you contact to provide different things. You do, however, order flower decorations from another shop than your mother's.
Since she runs a flower shop, it is safe to say your mother loves flowers, has great pride in her work and is good at her craft. Putting the right flowers + colors together is an art, too. By not asking her, for whatever reason, example B may take place. Also, since you are her son, additional loss occurs due to her additional emotions attached to you in many forms. She may imagine that you do not love her. This intense additional loss causes an equally intense additional anger and an equally intense additional cry for help. In general, among loved ones, such as immediate family, all responses are increased due to the additional emotional ties.
To resolve any such issue, you must again try to imagine what loss has occurred, then make sure you undo it. You should tell them unmistakably that you love them. If there is a logical explanation, give it quickly and simply. They will not simply take it and need reassurance. Just say again that you love them and be serious about it, and don't forget to smile warmly. Also address their cry for help and ask how you can make it right. If you do it correctly, you will undo their loss, undo their anger and they will likely mumble an answer as to what you could do. It never fails, because you understand the fundamental rule!
Now from a real thread last year on the "help with life" forums, put in simplified terms.
Example D: Alice and Bob are in a relationship. Problem: Bob constantly talks badly about others, especially people that Alice knows or mentions. He also has the tendency to explain things, even if he is not asked. Put short, he has an overall negative attitude and appears to try and elevate himself intellectually.
First: This is not a warm/loving response, therefore Bob is crying for help.
After asking further, I uncovered that Alice is at university and has a good outlook in life, while Bob is a fairly uneducated guy without much outlook in life.
As expected, this fits rule 2. Many people know someone like Bob. And most people are mystified by his behavior. Most people would drop him, and it may very well be the right thing to do for you. However, it is invaluable to understand what is going on. People don't behave this way at random - the two fundamental rules are at work.
There are many things that play together here. Bob is, for example, trying to feel better about himself by talking badly about others. This way, by comparing his imagined worse version of the other person to himself, it makes himself look better. Or, to put it simply: If Bob is a 2 on a scale from 1-10, and Jake is a 9, then Bob will suggest that Jake is a 5 or less, in order to make the difference smaller, so he can imagine himself being better than he really is. This is a defense mechanism in order to protect his own self-image and his own emotions. Bob has lost what he has never had, a good life, an outlook to a great future, and he may imagine Alice to leave him to embark on her own future. This loss causes hurt, which in turn causes anger, which feeds right back into his talking badly about others.
There may or may not be more levels to Bob, but the situation should be clear at this point. Also, it is unlikely that Bob can be helped in his situation, as it is his whole life, education and intellect that causes it all - which is why I suggested earlier that dropping Bob may be the best option for you at some point.
This concludes my rulebook. Feel free to point people on the "help with life" forums or anyone else to this deviation.
And remember, rule 3 says that not using rule 1 and 2 leads to the dark side of the force eventually