Defined Words: emotions, anger, sadness, happiness, catharsis, sympathy
Let’s say you’re having a rotten day, we’ve all been there. You messed up on the big report, nobody commented on your new haircut, you spilled mustard on yourself at lunch and didn’t have a change of clothes for the rest of the day. Understandably, you’re feeling some emotions on your way home.
Maybe you’re sad and want to be consoled, maybe you’re angry and want to be left alone, maybe you’re happy the day is finally over and want to forget it. Regardless of which emotion you are feeling, the primary purpose of you feeling it is to communicate something to yourself and others.
Emotions communicate to you and others how your reality compares to an expectation. When your reality is limited from reaching the expectation, you feel anger. When your reality is lacking from the expectation, you feel sadness. When your reality is equal to or greater than your expectation, you feel happiness.
It might sound overly general, but try to reflect on the times you’ve felt emotions and why. If you’re stuck in traffic, you’re angry that you can’t go a higher speed. Anger is usually felt toward what is out of our control. If you lose a loved one, you’re sad that your expectation cannot be reached because they are gone. If you get all your errands done before the end of the day, you’re happy because your reality matches your expectation.
Humans have come up with a form of communication that uses symbols and sounds in order to express more complex ideas. However, spoken words have the capacity to carry emotion because a human must speak them. The emotion that you portray is picked up by your audience and it can often overshadow, or even replace, the intention of your words.
“People don’t remember what you say; they remember how you made them feel.”
If you say “Thank you” in a disgusted tone, your audience will interpret the tone and ignore your thanks. You’ve probably experimented with this if you’ve ever talked to a dog or a baby and said hurtful things in a happy voice. Their brains can’t interpret the words but they can easily understand your emotion.
Like Basic Functions, our emotions are automated before we were born. We are a social species and our neural paths become solidified through use. Before we develop expansive vocabularies, we rely on our emotions to communicate with other humans. It’s why babies are so moody.
Our constant use of our emotions means that they are always accessible by the consciousness and can easily be synapsed to neural clusters. Your emotions are so accessible that they can synapse to clusters by mere association. If a person makes you angry and they like a sports team, you might start to get angry at that sports team.
Emotions, similar to the motor center and mental plane, are in a region of the brain that can be accessed by the consciousness. Your consciousness is limited and therefore resources must be allocated in order to access your emotions. Sometimes, your emotions pull too many resources that spill over to the motor center to cause a physical release of the emotion, we call it a catharsis.
You’ve probably danced with joy, yelled and pumped your fists out of anger, or cried from sadness. You feel better after a catharsis because of the pleasure released from making new synapses. Synapsing both the emotions and motor center to a cluster allows for emotional completion. The completion is why we can often move on after a catharsis.
If you see another human catharting, you’ll probably mirror their emotion, we call this sympathy. The emotional communication has been sent and received. However, catharsis isn’t the only way to emotionally communicate; we have the ability to pick up on subtle signals in posture, facial expression, and tone of voice.
And we haven’t even mentioned the eyes: the “window to the soul.” Your eyes are able to convey and interpret emotions. When you’re locked in eye contact with another person, you are technically having a conversation; you’re having an emotional conversation. You have the ability to converse with every other human on this planet, and some intelligent animals, by just looking them in the eyes.
Your emotions are the communication system of the Organism. It’s up to you to listen to and release your own emotions so they never build up enough to control you. There is no such thing as an emotion that you’re “not supposed to feel,” regardless of your gender or social standing. It takes strength, not weakness, to show your emotion.