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Author Topic: Emotions: Slave or Master  (Read 802 times)

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Offline MaevenTopic starter

Emotions: Slave or Master
« on: May 07, 2009, 08:24:00 AM »
Generally speaking, I try not to act without making at least an attempt to consider all of the consequences of each path. If I do X, then Y. If I do Y, then Z. It's all very simple really. Sometimes things don't turn out exactly right-- in fact, oftentimes I'm completely wrong. However, if I make my choices based on seeking positive results, on trying to make myself a better person, then, even if I'm wrong in the details, generally, I can land in the ballpark of positive. 

Simple decisions are easy.  I like this pair of heels and that pair of heels [you know I had to throw something in about heels, right? ;)], but I only have enough budgeted to afford the first pair. So, logically, I've got to purchase the first pair.

But what happens if I really, really desire that second pair and decide to throw logic to the wind? In the grand scheme of things, spending another twenty bucks on a pair of shoes because I let emotion get the better of me probably isn't going to bankrupt me.

But when the issues are larger and involve other people, unbridled emotion can cause grave mistakes in interpersonal relationships.

Ultimately, emotions are only as valuable to me as the results of the actions they motivate. I know that sentence, standing alone, is probably going to put off some people, but hang with me.

Anger, sadness, happiness, pride, admiration, lust, love, worry and fear are a few garden variety emotions. Each one of these, even ones that most would call negative, can produce a positive result if you choose to channel it in the right way.

Anger harnessed can lead one to make positive change in their family, environment, workplace, country and, on a grand scale, the world.

Sadness, especially over loss, can prompt us to appreciate what we're gifted with each day and remind us not to take it for granted.

Lust, in addition to how it motivates a person physically (which can be positive or negative) can be turned into art in an endless number of mediums writing on Elliquiy is just one of the possibilities.

And so on.

That said, emotions can also prompt actions that can have detrimental effects on your well-being.

Most bad reactions are no-brainers. Striking out at someone or burning bridges in pure anger is always a bad thing, allowing sadness to overwhelm and drown you doesn't make you feel better and becoming paralyzed by worry is counter-productive to basically everything.

But what about things that are less clear cut. What about emotional reactions like jealousy that feel like perfectly normal responses and are even used as tools of manipulation by others.

Can it ever be helpful? Can it be channeled into anything good?

Mostly it seems to me to be a worthless emotion because I can't really think of any instance where feeling jealous has inspired any action that makes me a better person.

This is separate and distinct from envy. Envy can motivate. I can be envious of another's talents and seek to cultivate those very qualities in myself. That's a good thing.

But becoming jealous when someone you fancy chooses to place their attentions elsewhere isn't helpful.  It breeds self-doubt, triggers depression, and nourishes resentment, none of which are high on the list of mental states I want to spend a significant amount of time in.

So... the actions don't do us any good, but how do we combat the feeling? There's no clear cut answer there because so many different situations can create jealousy above and beyond romantic relationships. 

The bottom line though, is that we should strive not to become a slave to our emotions.  Work through your feelings in whatever way you can, but master them, make them work for you, and don't act in a way that's going to create more turmoil for you and lead you down a path you might regret.

Offline Defiance

Re: Emotions: Slave or Master
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2009, 09:03:48 AM »
Can I answer a rhetorical question? Is that cool?

Some people believe that they can't help how they feel. Others believe they're in full control.

For the latter, the feeling of jealousy mixed with some introspection could lead to questions like, "Why does this make me jealous?", "Is it a big deal?", "Big enough for me to be jealous about?", "What can I do to not be jealous about it?", "What perspectives contribute to why I feel jealous?", "Are those perspectives fundamental enough that they can't be changed, and this action that makes me jealous, tolerated?"

And so on.

Anything can be spun any which way.

Offline crystaltears

Re: Emotions: Slave or Master
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2009, 12:53:44 PM »
Maeven, I really enjoyed this one. Thanks for your thoughts. *Smiles*

Offline MaevenTopic starter

Re: Emotions: Slave or Master
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2009, 08:19:17 AM »
Can I answer a rhetorical question? Is that cool?

Some people believe that they can't help how they feel. Others believe they're in full control.

For the latter, the feeling of jealousy mixed with some introspection could lead to questions like, "Why does this make me jealous?", "Is it a big deal?", "Big enough for me to be jealous about?", "What can I do to not be jealous about it?", "What perspectives contribute to why I feel jealous?", "Are those perspectives fundamental enough that they can't be changed, and this action that makes me jealous, tolerated?"

And so on.

Anything can be spun any which way.

Yes... you're exactly right. How a person deals with that feeling is, well, personal, and I don't pretend to know what will work in a given situation.  I only know that it's better to deal with it internally, by asking ourselves some or all of those very questions, than to allow it to control our actions.

Offline Duncan

Re: Emotions: Slave or Master
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2009, 08:22:58 AM »
Very well done.