11: Intertwined Emotion Regulation Strategies: Proselytization as an Example

Even if it is possible to identify them separately, the identified emotion regulation strategies are well intertwined, or fused (Aldao & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2013; Kross, 2015), as has been thematized. The social element is considerably influential in cognitive reappraisal, as emotions are situated in a group context (Koole & Veenstra, 2015; Niedenthal & Brauer, 2012; Reysen & Branscombe, 2008; Smith, 1993; Smith et al., 2007). The other way, a premise for emotional change in social sharing sequences, is that reappraisal occurs (Zech & Rimé, 2005).

As an example, interactions with strangers and external rejection due to proselytization work have the potential of provoking emotions, such as anxiety, fear, and degrees of shame, with embarrassment and shyness being milder reactions. Shame is a social emotion, and natural shame reactions are related to social situations in which one is concerned about others’ actual or imagined negative evaluations, such as when crossing others’ intimate boundaries and private territories (Fessler, 2004; Kemeny, Gruenewald, & Dickerson, 2004; Nathanson, 1992; Tangney & Salovey, 1999). Shame has a natural function of preventing the invasion of others’ privacy and boundaries.

Repetitively defining and emphasizing in regular meetings that the proselytization activity is a life-saving activity employs cognitive reappraisal. Choosing to leave the full-time paid labor is reappraised as choosing, instead, Jehovah as the main employer. Experiencing difficult emotions when doing this work is regulated using the biblical metaphor fear of man to normalize and address the emotional challenges this culture-specific activity may elicit. Underscoring “us versus others” to appraise a strong JW social identity in a social sharing environment may also serve the function of reducing uneasiness and shame (Kemeny et al., 2004). A system of social support surrounds the emotional labor JWs perform as workers who participate in frequent and often emotionally demanding interactions with the public, the goal being to produce emotions from others in the name of Jehovah (Hochschild, 1983; Mallory & Rupp, 2016; Wortmann & Gao, 2011).

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