Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.
– Roger Ebert
A few weeks ago I stumbled across a dictionary from 1908. I have taken a fascination with comparing how we once defined terms and ideas to how we understand and communicate concepts today.
I looked up Emotion in the 1908 dictionary to find the following definition:
Emotion: an undesirable state of being.
Today according to the Oxford Dictionary:
Emotion: a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood or relationship with others. An instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reason or knowledge.
This is an excellent example of how we have been evolving as human beings over time. We evolve through our perception, thought and beliefs. Different than our fellow mammals who evolved through genetic mutation and adaptation. We have always been the same biological human beings. Although as we change our beliefs we evolve and change our relationship with ourselves and our environment.
While our understandings of how the body creates emotion has been consistent for over a century, its impact on our health and our state of being has only recently begun to be recognized by modern science and medicine.
Our peripheral nervous system is made up of our 5 senses; the perceptions of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. The sum of those senses results in an emotion or feelings that tell us about the environment we are perceiving and interacting with. This has long been considered the intelligence of the heart or how the heart communicates with us.
Ration or reason, on the on the other hand is an intellectual process based in the experiences of the past. This is commonly a collection of ideas whose value is based solely on the desired outcome. For example, if you go to college and get a degree, you will get a good job and be able to support yourself a your family. While this logically makes sense, the outcomes is achieved far less than one would expect despite this logical equation.
On the contrary, sometimes people make difficult decisions simply because, “it felt or feels right”. These are commonly regarded as idillic or irrational thoughts and behaviors. Surprisingly, despite the irrational approach, many find this to be what has led them to their true or higher self.
An example of emotion is when our personal well being is threatened. Our body responds with a fight or flight mechanism that provides us with a feeling of fear or uncertainty. Inversely, when we feel welcomed or relaxed our bodies create feelings of connectedness and belonging. These feelings are meant to be a compass or a guide that can lead us to feelings of coherence and ultimately our purpose in life.
In short, if you feel negativity towards something, something needs to change. Things we can change included our perspective, our relationship and our response. Somethings in our life are just not good for us. There are also things that are good for us that we need to create more of. Better understandings of our feelings can help guide us to what we enjoy, what we need and also what we might benefit from eliminating from our lives.
Emotions can get messy. This normally occurs when we ignore our emotional response and keep doing the same things that get us, emotional. This is when folks sometimes suggest that “emotions get in the way”. They only get in the way when we ignore them and allow others to disregard our emotions. This only causes more unstable emotions, suggesting that something or someone in our life needs to change.
You always know and feel what’s right…when we ignore those feelings…we discredit our power. Our heart is always right, rarely rational, but always true. That why doing the right thing is often so difficult.
What in your life do you need to change?