In Your Language

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Emotions are Tempting



I am a deep thinker. I watch serious, thought-provoking, and educational media like: "The Case for Emotional Hygiene" and "What is the Impact of Toxic Thinking?". I don't share this to put you off but to reveal a bit of myself. I don't do those things for show; it is merely a part of who I am. That is what I do when I'm "in character" and genuine to my inclinations.


For a while, people took for granted the power of their thoughts and emotions. Now, more and more, professionals are speaking out on harnessing our thoughts and emotions for good, to detox from trauma and to thrive holistically. Yet, I still see many people operating, by default, driven by their emotions and appetites.

If you look around and notice, the most irritable people are the ones who give in to their emotions. And while I'm not the first to say that that is not always the best way to experience life, I will be one of the first to say that our emotions are moment to moment urges, temptations, appetites. They are real and they exist- to the degree we allow them to.

If we accept that emotions are our cognitive climate that also create the social environment in our homes, school and work, then perhaps emotions need more discretion than we give them. Acting with unbridled emotion is characteristic of thrill seeking adolescents. The prefontal cortex of our brains do not fully develop until they are around 25 years old, assuming they were developing normally and without undue trauma (Wallis, 2013). That "last to develop" region of our brains is responsible for "executive functioning" and self control.

When I deconstruct the conflicts I have with my family, it comes down to the fact that I'm not fighting with my loved one, but with their projected emotion. When they are in a conflict with me, they are dealing with what is normally trapped inside my mind and body and now dealing with the visible and audible manifestation of what I have been harboring within. Many of our insides are not as pretty or camouflaged with makeup like our outsides. What comes out is usually raw, scary and ugly until we learn how to process those things and make them more "friendly" and "character building.

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Sometimes we not only give in to, but feed, our emotions. It can get to the point where it negatively affects the people in our lives and may even hijack our daily functioning. In those moments, we must use our last ounce of strength to "put that emotion on the shelf" so we can fulfill our obligations to one another and society. [Or, get professional help if necessary.] We don't have a responsibility to play out our emotions. We do have an obligation to ourselves and each other to manage our emotional temptations.


Reference:

Wallis, L. (2013, September 23). Is 25 the new cut-off point for adulthood? Retrieved from 

               BBC News Magazine: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24173194




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