Emotions | Love 'Em | Hate 'Em
Updated: Apr 24, 2018
Chances are you might have a love-hate relationship with emotions. When emotions are good, THEY ARE REALLY GOOD! And when they are bad, THEY ARE REALLY BAD!
In a perfect world we would be able to control our emotions. Unfortunately, we live in reality which means that we can influence our emotions to some extent and make choices that increase the probability of certain emotions occurring, but we will still experience the emotions that we would rather avoid.
If you find yourself feeling as though your emotions are in charge of you, versus you being in charge of your emotions, you are in the right place.
So here's the deal. Believe it or not there is a PURPOSE to emotions!
- Emotions give meaning to our experiences.
This means that our emotions allow us to know what we enjoy, what we don't enjoy, whether we love something, and so on.
- Emotions are our personal guide for our value system.
This means that if you start to feel anxious about being dishonest your emotions are letting you know that you don't value lying. Thus it presents you with an option to change your behavior (thus resulting in a different emotion), change your value (thus resulting in a different emotion), or do nothing (and continue to experience the emotion).
- Emotions assist us in making appraisals.
This is an extension of the first bullet point. Basically this means that we decide whether to continue to engage in an action that produced the emotion so that we can continue to experience the emotion or discontinue that specific emotion. In simple terms, either you keep doing the behavior or you stop the behavior.
- Emotions assist with validation.
This means that your emotions let you know that you are justified in your experience. If you feel uncomfortable around someone who is constantly violating your boundaries, your feeling of 'discomfort' is letting you know that it is OK to feel uncomfortable because your value system and/or boundaries are being violated in some way. It is also noted that validation can be present in less extreme forms than the provided example.
- Emotions assist with communication.
Emotions allow you to know how you are feeling and also allow you to let others know how you are feeling or what you are experiencing.
If you find that, despite having the knowledge of the purpose of emotions, it feels like your emotions are getting the best of you then it may be time to seek support from counseling services to learn how put those emotions back in their place and develop some skills to more effectively tolerate the emotions.