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The Importance of Emotions

Updated on October 11, 2014
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Are Emotions More Trouble Than They're Worth?

For so many years I wanted to get rid of my emotions and feelings. They seemed like a constant problem. Then I went to a therapist that told me how important they were, and why.

I said, "I don't believe you."

Obviously he got through to me. Now my experience tells me what an ally feelings can be, and how necessary. That's what I hope to share on this page.

[Note: I talk about emotions and feelings on this lens. EMOTIONS ARE a physical response to a situation, like fear or sadness. Emotions are what they are. FEELINGS ARE more specific and have a thought component (your interpretation). Example: I feel like having Italian for dinner. This involves some judgment on your part.]

Feel What You Feel

WHATEVER YOU FEEL, ACKNOWLEDGE IT TO YOURSELF

WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHARE YOUR FEELINGS WITH SOMEONE IS YOUR CHOICE

IF YOUR EMOTIONAL REACTION TO SOMETHING SEEMS "OVER THE TOP", YOU MAY BE REACTING TO SOMETHING FROM THE PAST, NOT THE PRESENT

How Emotions Help Us (Overview) - DETAILS BELOW

  1. They give us helpful INFORMATION. (see #1 below)
  2. Emotions are essential for making GOOD DECISIONS. (see #2 below)
  3. They help us COMMUNICATE. (see #3 below)
  4. Emotions and feelings help us NAVIGATE through life. (see #4 below)
  5. They are the reason we have ENJOYMENT, react to beauty, know friendship and love. (see #5 below)

Baseline tranquility . . .

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1. Be Informed

EMOTIONS ARE INFORMATION FOR YOU, AND ABOUT YOU

ANGER is like a home security system. When it goes off it informs you that, in your perception, your space is being invaded in some way, or threatened.

FEAR is like the alarm in a home security system. It wakes you up, gets you focused and ready
for action. For example, if someone pulls in front of you on the expressway, the adrenaline rush that comes with fear focuses you on keeping yourself safe. (Worry, is different . . . not helpful)

SADNESS tells us we've been disappointed or lost something we value (or think we won't get what we value). In spite of your state of the art security system, something is missing. Or perhaps the promotion you worked hard for doesn't materialize. Tears are cleansing, no matter why they are shed.

HAPPINESS gives a message too. Your life, at least for the time being, is in balance, and/or you feel connected, and/or you feel good about yourself. (Or you've won the lotto).

JEALOUSY is like wanting something your neighbor has and you realize you can't get past their security system (and you don't want to get arrested). But jealousy can give you good information about yourself. Let's say you are green with envy over Ed, the top salesman in your office. You probably want his success for yourself, or maybe envy his charisma.

If you are chronically jealous with your significant others, you are like a home security system that goes off when a bee lands on the window. Not everyone who talks to your S.O. is a threat. On the other hand, trust your instincts and check things out.

GRIEF is the result of losing something very valuable; as if the home security system failed and something valuable and irreplaceable was stolen. Though painful, grief is cleansing and healing. If we allow grief, rather than trying not to feel it, it helps us process the loss, and find a way past the worst of the pain.

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2. Decisions and Feelings: Peas In A Pod

People that have damage to the emotion centers in the brain have a hard time making good decisions. The head and the heart, together, are necessary for making better choices. For example, you've researched all the ratings on new cars and there are 5 cars that meet your requirements. Then your feeling-self can help choose one by indicating which one you like, which one you feel good sitting in.


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3. A Universal Language

It's well documented that all human beings share the same emotional language. Sad is sad in Oregon and in Tibet. An angry face is described angry by someone in London and in Siberia. Anywhere you travel, people can connect with, and understand you, on an emotional level. (You'd think we'd stop causing one another so much pain).


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4. A Built In GPS System

Feeling and intuition are related. For that reason, feelings are like having an internal, personal GPS navigation system. If you are able to "read" people, or the energy in a room, it can help you make good choices about where to go, how to act, and what you wish to say. If you've ever walked in to a room and immediately felt it was filled with tension, then you've heard from your GPS.


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5. Love, Beauty, Joy and Beer

Pain isn't fun, but much of our pleasure in life is derived from our emotions and feelings. Feelings help us recognize truth, appreciate beauty, and give us the experience of joy. Would people listen to music if they weren't moved by it in some way? Yes, even the pleasure of enjoying a cold beer requires feelings.


Beauty is something we feel . . .

Beauty is something we feel . . .
Beauty is something we feel . . .

Feelings (instrumental) - I never liked this song but it seems appropriate

Communication Tip

ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO EXPRESS A FEELING IS TO START SENTENCES WITH THE WORD "I."

FOR EXAMPLE, "I'M ANGRY. I'VE BEEN WAITING HERE FOR AN HOUR."

OR, "I FEEL HURT EVERY TIME YOU CALL ME SAUSAGE LEGS."

THIS REDUCES CONFLICT BECAUSE YOU ARE SHARING INFORMATION RATHER THAN ACCUSING THE OTHER PERSON

Emotions are a universal language

DVD: Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child - DVD
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child - DVD

In this 90-minute live presentation, Dr. Gottman provides an easy to follow overview of how to raise emotionally intelligent children. It teaches parents and caregivers how to be "emotion coaches" by being aware of a child's emotions.

Also available in book, cassette, video, and mp3 download formats.

 

Emotions Effect Water Molecules - And Humans Are Mostly Water

Teaching Children About Emotions

How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger (Laugh & Learn)
How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger (Laugh & Learn)

Kids need help learning how to manage their anger. This book is written for 9-12 year olds (or anyone who wants a simple guide for expressing anger effectively, without stuffing it or using violence).

 

Heart and Mind Working Together Are Wings

Sadness

Poem

THE WELL OF GRIEF

Those who will not slip beneath

the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water

to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,

the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering

the small round coins

thrown by those who wished for something else.

~ by David Whyte ~

Emotional Intelligence Is . . . - from Changing Minds.Org

'Emotional Intelligence' is a neat metaphor that borrows from the notion of IQ. It implies that some people are better at handling emotions than others. It also hints that you might be able to increase your EQ. Practically, it offers a useful set of guidelines for doing just this.

SELF-AWARENESS

Being emotionally self-aware means knowing how you feel in "real time." Self-knowledge is the first step in being able to handle emotions. If you can see them and name them, then you at least then have a chance to do something about them.

EMOTIONAL LITERACY

Emotional literacy means being able to label emotions precisely. This includes the emotions of others and especially yourself. It also means being able to talk about emotions without getting overly emotional or (as happens with many people) denying them.

Emotional literacy is not using 'I feel...' statements to offer opinions, ideas, etc. Thus 'I feel that is a good idea' is not emotional literacy, whist 'I feel angry' is.

EMPATHY & COMPASSION

Empathy is the ability to feel and understand the emotions of others. If you can empathize, you can engender trust, as people desperately want to be understood at the emotional level. All great carers and nurturers major in empathy and compassion.

It also means appreciating and accepting differences between people, accepting that we have different priorities and capabilities around emotion.

BALANCE

The ability to balance emotion and reason in making decisions leads to good decisions. Emotion should not be abandoned, lest cold and callous decisions are made. Nor should logic be abandoned unless you want a wishy-washy outcome.

RESPONSIBILITY

Emotional Intelligence means taking primary responsibility for your own emotions and happiness. You cannot say that others "made" you feel the way you feel. Although they may be instrumental, the responsibility is yours, just as if you kill someone, there is no argument that says that someone else made you do it.

Facts About Emotions

  • Emotions are not weapons.
  • Emotions are not a shield.
  • Emotions are not "who" you are. They are something "you" experience.
  • If feelings and emotions are information, there are no "bad" ones.
  • Feelings are not right, or wrong, unless you judge them to be.
  • Your feelings will always tell the truth about your subjective experience in a given situation.
  • Feelings don't need to be rational. We already have a mind for that.


Gratitude is a Healing Feeling

Short Meditation

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    • profile image

      Jasmine 2 years ago

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Tassilyn 2 years ago

      Oh yeah, faubolus stuff there you!

    • GregKuhn profile image

      GregKuhn 5 years ago

      Jaktraks, right on! I've lived for quite a while using my emotions as my "thermometer". They are neither "right" nor "wrong"; they are information. And I also noticed that you are interested in quantum physics. If you look at my lenses, please let me know if we can dialogue more! Thank you!

    • AlwaysCurious LM profile image

      Ashley 5 years ago from St. Louis

      Thanks for sharing! I added this lens as a favorite "related lens" to my page....hope that's okay! : )

    • piarejuden profile image

      piarejuden 5 years ago

      This is so insightful... All this information is so useful..Thank you so much.. it means so much more coming from a professional counselor like you. Thank you for sharing.. God bless!

    • profile image

      3levels 5 years ago

      Your emotions are information - I completely agree with you. What a helpful lens; especially the bit about the healing power of gratitude.

    • profile image

      Ladyeaglefeather 5 years ago

      amazing lens, thanks for writing.

    • profile image

      tadd_hoover 5 years ago

      thanks for your bit of wisdom, i appreciate it, good job :)

    • Iain84 profile image

      Iain84 5 years ago

      Great lens - thank you for sharing this. :)

    • mizzburdette profile image

      mizzburdette 5 years ago

      I LOVE THIS! :)

    • profile image

      agent009 5 years ago

      Good job on the lens! It's good to express your emotions (although tactfully) and not hold it in because bottling them up makes it ready to explode later on.

    • profile image

      doctordermot 5 years ago

      Excellent lens. All guys should see it.

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      crstnblue 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens - information, images - in its full.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 5 years ago

      Great lens! Good, essential information especially to help those who experienced childhood emotional abuse--A condition that is not easily recognized and therefore becomes very difficult to realize one's need for emotional healing. Past damage is usually why people have trouble getting in touch with their emotions and feelings.

    • profile image

      GrinningFool 6 years ago

      Great information. It took me a long time to actually express my emotions to people. I am still working at it and think I always will.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Excellent lens with useful, timely, and relevant information on emotional intelligence. I recently read that..."Awareness without action creates illusion. To manifest results in the physical world, you must take action. When that ation is the result of a conscious choice guided by your core values and purposes your results are most successful and fulfilling."

      The late Bandleader and Balladeer, Barry White said quite succintly when he utttered the phrase..."Practice what you preach" from one of his last songs released in 2003.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      I got a wealth of information from this lens. Sometimes I feel as though I am a bundle of emotions and surely I will explode from the feelings that I carry. You've given me a lot of information that I feel I will use judiciously and it will help improve my life. Thank you for sharing, and at no cost!:~) See you around the galaxy...

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      OnlineBookShop 6 years ago

      Feelings make us human. They can be hard to deal with, but that's the human experience. You could have been born a spoon.

    • JakTraks profile image
      Author

      Jacqueline Marshall 6 years ago from Chicago area

      @Addy Bell: Thank you, much appreciated.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      *blessed*!

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      Char Milbrett 6 years ago from Minnesota

      interesting

    • vauldine profile image

      vauldine 6 years ago

      Emotions are very significant indicators if only we know how to read them and stand firm on what they reveal to us. Sometimes I think that we should not share them until we get what they are saying because so often other people misinterpret our emotions and make experiences become bitter. Emotions are very valuable.Thanks for such inspiring lens.

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      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Amazing lens - too many people have a tendency to try to be emotionless to protect themselves. Very thought provoking work.

    • benzwm021 lm profile image

      benzwm021 lm 6 years ago

      Interesting lens..there is not one like it at all. I talk some about emotions and music on my Pittsburgh Piano Tuning blog.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great stuff!! I like your lens; itâs very informative and engaging. Iâm also building a site Drinking how much is too much which is really useful for drinkers.

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      avorodisa lm 6 years ago

      Very useful article! Great job! I especially like the grief part!

    • AbhinavB LM profile image

      AbhinavB LM 6 years ago

      Thanks for the information!!! Looks like I have to do more work on anger management...

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      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      Thoughtful and provocative. Shared. Thanks.

    • Mohprice profile image

      Mohprice 6 years ago

      Wow great lens

    • JakTraks profile image
      Author

      Jacqueline Marshall 6 years ago from Chicago area

      @Leanne Chesser: A nice surprise, thank you!!

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      Leanne Chesser 6 years ago

      Perfectly timed for me today :). Blessed.

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      Daniel_Mckinnon 6 years ago

      great lense..

    • TillyMint LM profile image

      TillyMint LM 6 years ago

      Thanks for this informative and interesting lens x Dialectic Behaviour Therapy is something I would love to know more about and use in my practice as a mental health nurse, and also for my own personal development. I really enjoyed reading it x

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Very enlightening dissertation on this complex but important topic.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Nice lens and featured on the The jealous gene

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      Jen 6 years ago from Canada

      I think I avoid listening to my emotions and it gets me it lots of trouble. Great lens.

    • JakTraks profile image
      Author

      Jacqueline Marshall 6 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: You may be right, what do I know, but people have to accept their feelings and learn to manage emotions before they can stop being ruled by them.

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      doubleside lm 6 years ago

      beautiful lens. Love it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      emotion serves no purpose, emotion is akin to a redundant organ, a primitive evolutionary adaptation that is no longer rquired

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is an interesting Lens, thanks.

    • profile image

      MaatTheCat 6 years ago

      Truly excellent

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This really is the most awesome,helpful lens I have ever come across!

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      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      Our emotions are very important, but the most important is to stay strong.

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      Tamara Kajari 6 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Just reading this lens relaxed me beyond expectation. Then it made me start thinking how simple most of the tips are. But then again, we people usually complicate our lives on our own, while the solutions are usually quite simple:-) Thank you for this nice lens.

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      Cynthia Davis 6 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Another great lens! Your lenses are so very interesting. Thanks for all the info on emotions. I tend to let my emotions get the best of me at times, this should help me improve on this important health issue.

    • unique freak77 profile image

      unique freak77 6 years ago

      What an amazing lens. Emotions are so important, and I always felt you needed to express them or else you would explode. Very informative lens, thanks for sharing it!

    • sponias lm profile image

      sponias lm 6 years ago

      Your work is very interesting! Our emotions are really very important. Fear is a protection, sadness gives us sensitivity, happiness completely changes the way we live, and so on. We need our emotions for many reasons.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      this lens rocks. outstanding explalnations.

    • slackira profile image

      slackira 7 years ago

      Great lens. Very informative.

    • michaeldavid3 profile image

      michaeldavid3 8 years ago

      Hello Jacqueline; I like this lens on emotions the way it is setup with quotes, books, and videos. I will use Carey's Emotions song for my self-esteem group of teen girls. I have been teaching esteem groups for three years. I have some tips for healing emotional trauma on my lens. I am also finishing writing a book on "The Power of Emotions," stories and methods to heal emotional suffering.

      Blessings,

      Michael David Lawrience

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Nicely done lens; I'll look forward to seeing more! 5 stars.

    • Susan Carrell profile image

      Susan Carrell 8 years ago

      This is a great lens! You share a lot of excellent tips on dealing with emotions. I'd love for you to check out my lens on dealing with guilt when you have a chance.

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      truth_heals 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens! You've put together a great collection of information and resources here. When you get a chance, please drop by my lens and say hello.

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      monarch13 8 years ago

      Beautifully done! 5 stars and rolled to "Cope With Anger, Create Happiness".

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      i love your lens so much well presented and content is full:) and now we fully understand what's in your lens:)

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      richgerman 9 years ago

      Very informative lens...

      Rich German

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      Debbie 9 years ago from England

      Thank you for joining the Emotional Wellbeing Group :)

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      Linda Jo Martin 9 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Great information, well presented. Too many people think of emotions as a bad thing.

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      dtbs 9 years ago

      interesting lens! thanks for sharing this info! please check mine out at----------------> Kava Kava.