A simple question to you, “ what is your emotion right now?” Think of the answer quickly without analysing much. Now let us get to that emotion. How has emotion been explained to you? In other words, how did you learn about emotion?
What is emotion?
Before discussing this further here’s how the word ‘emotion’ has been described in dictionary –
Emotion by definition is an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.
There is a brilliant thing called defence mechanism which every human has and the interaction of this mechanism with consciousness is what determines one’s emotion. Most of us knowingly or unknowingly try to give in to our defence mechanism and suppress consciousness. What results is a circumstantial emotion instead of your true emotion, which you believe is apt for the situation you are in. In doing so, that is by succumbing to your consciousness and circumstances you are not able to experience and express your true emotion.
How does one confirm their emotions?
Unlike a thermometer which we use to measure temperature, there is no device to measure one’s emotional state. Instead we resort to branding. We decide “I’m not in a good mood/ I’m in a bad mood, I’m angry, I don’t feel like talking, I’m sad, or worse, I don’t feel like anything.”
Why do you have to adjust or put up with these false emotions which neither describe our true state nor help you work your way out of it?
We don’t have to!
Finding true emotion using emotional thermometer
There are means to measure your emotional state and this is what is referred to as emotional thermometer. Not many realize that our present emotion is multifactorial and is a result of what we are going through, not just at the moment but from recent to distant past. What they are projecting themselves as and truly feeling is a result of what’s cooking beneath.
So how does one understand their true emotion? Go back to the first question-what is your emotion? To start off, stop everything you are doing now. Write down your emotion in one word. Be true to yourself. You will be surprised to find that you will, at times, have more than one emotion. Remember words like fine, okay and better are not emotions. Push yourself to ignore your social consciousness and write down what you are feeling at this moment. Now the hard part of being honest with yourself is done.
Once this is done, start analysing what made you reach the emotion. In other words, identify the triggers and stressors (if any). Remember what you are reflecting is a result of what’s cooking inside. You will most certainly be having more than one trigger/ stressor.
Now sequence the triggers/ stressors in the order they are impacting you. You would identify one, and maybe more events or stressors that have resulted in your present emotion. If, even in spite of all this you could not come up with the triggers, there’s more to it. We might perceive certain triggers when we are awake but there are some in the subconscious or the unconscious like our dreams, or our thoughts about past events.
You now have to make choices. Choices between identifying if something is a trigger or not. And then decide if you need to react to this trigger. In other words, does this trigger require my emotion? If you feel this is bothering you, all you have to do is acknowledge it and confront it.
Be it our kids, work colleagues or family members we don’t have to live with it. In other words, we are responsible for our emotions depending on how we deal with the triggers and stressors.
The answer also lies within you. Talk it out, first to yourself. You will be surprised to know that most of the times you would have come up with a solution or plan to deal with stressors. If still unclear about resolving stressor, talk to whoever you are comfortable with and work out a strategy.
Also, don’t be affected by others’ judgement of you. Instead try and understand what you feel, how you feel and why you feel. The reality is that your emotions are generated from within. You cannot decide “to feel or not to feel”, but you can decide whether to react and if so how to react. This is where the emotional thermometer helps you in decision making.
The fact that the more we come to terms with our inner demons and confess to our loved ones about them, the more do these triggers/ stressors diminish or become less visible. In a way, don’t let your self be put in a pressure cooker where stress looms large in silence to the point where it erupts. Rather, have a release on pressure. Once pressure is let off, it becomes less intense. Feelings that are repressed or denied the attention they require will not automatically disappear, instead they add up to the pressure.
One word that everyone needs is reassurance. Don’t be afraid to face feelings assuming consequences. With reassurance you can and will work out your triggers.
Let’s take control of our emotions and put our emotional thermometer to use for effective and spontaneous results.