“Dad, what are emotions?”Posted: April 28, 2013
Emotions, emotions, emotions… They such are a beautiful thing if we understand them.
Let’s think about what emotions are. A human being is born with biological mechanisms:
A physical pleasure-pain mechanism that protects you when your finger touches a hot pan and that makes you feel good when you eat something delicious or that someone you love kisses you softly – and yes, I mean mom… This mechanism is geared to protect your life and is working through your nerve system and lightning-fast instincts.
You also have a mental happy-sad mechanism that tells you if you’re doing good or not, if the girl of your dreams just said “yes” or “no”. Note that this mechanism does not work through instincts, but it is still fast and automatic. It takes some quick evaluation and decision making to determine if what just happened is good or bad for you. To quickly determine what is the context and what you should feel and do about it.
So you are saying I can decide what to feel?
No, I am saying that your feelings depend on a specific context and your evaluation of the situation.
Let’s say that someone just insulted you – you can decide to start crying, insult him back angrily, walk away indifferently or just start laughing joyfully – it depends on your judgment. But this is unique kind of judgment, a subconscious, emotional judgment.
Emotions are the AUTOMATIC REACTION to that judgment processed by your subconscious. They are an effect, not a cause. You cannot love someone for no reason, you are not depressed for no reason, there is a cause and you should try to understand exactly what you are feeling and most importantly, why you are feeling the way you do.
So how does my subconscious decide how to judge a specific event?
Good question. You are born with empty conscious and subconscious mechanisms. Your conscious mind programs the subconscious with values that are used to decide your emotional reactions.
Where do those values come from? A human being doesn’t get them automatically like your physical instincts. Values come either from your conscious thinking, acceptance of someone else’s or socially-accepted ideas, faith, or any automatic integration you decided knowingly or unknowingly. Those become the basis for your emotional value judgment.
If you consciously thought about your values, about what is good, bad, important, meaningful or not – then, you will understand your emotions. They will make sense to you and your mind and emotions will feel integrated. You will enjoy them profoundly or use them to drive yourself to correct what is wrong in your life. Otherwise, and sadly this is the case with many people, emotions do not always align with your rational evaluation of a situation which means there is a conflict that needs to be resolved psychologically. It is a simple rule – random values produce random emotions.
Another important thing – Emotions will give you no clue about what to do in a given situation because they are a subconscious reaction. They are NOT a function of organizing data, draw conclusions and analyze things – this requires reason and awareness – not emotions.
So make sure you do NOT act on your intuition or unexplained feelings. Use observation, integration, concepts and logic to determine what is your best course of action. Don’t just “feel like it”. It will mess you up.
Lastly, emotions are essential to your life. They give you love, desire, motivation and enjoyment from life. Nourish your emotions and relish in them.
So I should “connect with my emotions” as they say?
If that means understand your emotions, then yes. If it means, let them lead the way, then no.
Remember – Reason first, emotions later.
Dad, I feel tiered
So connect with your emotion and go to sleep dude.
Good night. I love you so much.
Me too Dad