But while we do not have control over the style we

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opportunity to do so. But while we do not have control over the style we develop as babies, we canexercise more control over our emotions and relationships as adults if we take the time to develop self-awareness and communication competence—both things this book will help you do if you put what youlearn into practice.Culture and EmotionsWhile our shared evolutionary past dictates some universal similarities in emotions, triggers foremotions and norms for displaying emotions vary widely. Certain emotional scripts that we follow aresocially, culturally, and historically situated. Take the example of “falling in love.” Westerners may betempted to critique the practice of arranged marriages in other cultures and question a relationship thatisn’t based on falling in love. However, arranged marriages have been a part of Western history, and theemotional narrative of falling in love has only recently become a part of our culture. Even though weknow that compatible values and shared social networks are more likely to predict the success of a long-term romantic relationship than “passion,” Western norms privilege the emotional role of falling in lovein our courtship narratives and practices (Crozier, 2006). While this example shows how emotions tie intolarger social and cultural narratives, rules and norms for displaying emotions affect our day-to-dayinteractions.Display rules are sociocultural norms that influence emotional expression. Display rules influence whocan express emotions, which emotions can be expressed, and how intense the expressions can be. Inindividualistic cultures, where personal experience and self-determination are values built into culturalpractices and communication, expressing emotions is viewed as a personal right. In fact, the outwardexpression of our inner states may be exaggerated, since getting attention from those around you isaccepted and even expected in individualistic cultures like the United States (Safdar et al., 2009). Incollectivistic cultures, emotions are viewed as more interactional and less individual, which ties them
into social context rather than into an individual right to free expression. An expression of emotionreflects on the family and cultural group rather than only on the individual. Therefore, emotional displaysare more controlled, because maintaining group harmony and relationships is a primary cultural value,which is very different from the more individualistic notion of having the right to get something off yourchest.There are also cultural norms regarding which types of emotions can be expressed. In individualisticcultures, especially in the United States, there is a cultural expectation that people will exhibit positiveemotions. Recent research has documented the culture of cheerfulness in the United States(Kotchemidova, 2010). People seek out happy situations and communicate positive emotions even whenthey do not necessarily feel positive emotions. Being positive implicitly communicates that you have

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