Finalist Sarah Howie

I vividly remember the day that man had asked my sister out. It was a clear, sunny, and beautiful day. But in the blink of an eye it all turned dark. I had always hated him. He was snobby, rude, cruel, and had no passion whatsoever. He wasn’t right for her. I was blinded by hatred, and I told my sister and her new boyfriend how I hoped they wouldn’t last long. I let my emotions get the best of me, when in reality, I should have seen that my sister was happy and it was her decision to be with her new boyfriend, not mine.


In the book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt, the author of the book, explains to the reader how the mind isn’t all one thing, it’s divided, just like a rider on an elephant, where the rider serves the elephant. In my case, my emotions were the elephant, and my reasoning was the rider. My reasoning was serving my emotions, to the point where I couldn’t make a clear choice in what I should say or do. I’m nervous this may impact my future college life, for I am a very emotional person. I let my emotions get the best of me, and, if given a bad situation at school, I could prove to be disastrous.


On top of my awful emotional decision, I later tried to convince myself that what I had done was alright. I couldn’t explain exactly why I had out of the blue yelled at my sister and her new boyfriend. I knew I hated the guy, but why was it any of my business what my older sister did with her life? I couldn’t understand my own reactions to the situation. It became clear I was very impulsive with my actions, and my emotions were out of control. I wasn’t able to calm down and reason with myself that it isn’t my life, I wasn’t stuck with the guy, so I should let my sister learn her own mistakes. I hope that from now on, my reasoning won’t be serving my emotions. And I think Jonathan Haidt’s book will help me in the future with my thinking process.



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