Emotions are a very complex thing. No more and no less complex than one’s nature.
Emotion is like sexual orientation. People argue about whether it’s nature or nurture, when really it’s both. It’s a delicate, intricate dance. There are factors in and out of our control, especially when emotions are involved. It’s nature when we feel as we do; it is as it is freely. It’s choice when we decide to act; it is as we will it to be. But if we don’t understand the truth of free-will, we don’t choose to realize what we really want.
Society, specifically the mass media, exploits our need to compare ourselves to everything and it influences us to be similar to one another, instead of encouraging our diversity. There is no mass profit to be made from emotional diversity. Why? Because we can’t build a machine to custom-build a product for each and every person. We can’t write a song for each and every person. We can’t individualize education for each student. It must be mainstreamed.
This carries over to labels placed upon human emotions. I could show you a multi-lingual list of words that describe every conceivable human emotion, but it would only be a fraction of the emotions people feel everyday.
If you’re happy or upset about something or someone, it doesn’t change the situation, that person, or your intentions. You have the power to realize what to do, how you feel, and how to react. The first step is realizing we live in a world that tells us how we should respond, how we should feel, and how we should interpret those feelings. The problem is, we’re so busy comparing ourselves to others’ responses, that we devalue our own unique emotions – which no words could begin to describe. That’s really the nature of emotions.
What happens around us is not the same as how it makes us feel. And even if we could put words to our emotions, it doesn’t change the fact that every one of our emotions are as unique as our fingerprints. You may indeed feel “happy,” but “happy” is a mutually agreed upon term, your emotions are not.
So many of us, when we feel a certain emotion, aren’t satisfied with what’s happening around us because we aren’t satisfied with how we’re feeling in the moment. A number of my friendships and experiences were replaced and dictated with how I felt about them. If society was telling me how to feel by limiting my emotions to a list of mutually agreed upon terms, I had already lost my realization of free-will. Instead of accepting my unique feelings, I interpreted how I felt about them as wrong. To put it simply, I was depressed. But it was so much more complicated than that.
It became a habit. No matter what was happening around me, the fact that my emotions didn’t change with the flow of events only increased my depression. Was I supposed to feel depressed? Was I supposed to feel happy? Well, I was stuck in an emotional habit. Just like any other behavior, if you do something or feel something LONG enough… your body will more easily continue that behavior or emotion to maintain the consistency.
I wasn’t feeling satisfied by acting and feeling like those around me, so I subconsciously latched onto one feeling within myself to maintain a sense of consistency and normality. In my case, my happiness was not dependent on what was happening around me. I had felt depressed for so long. NOTHING, not even winning the lottery, could fix this. I became addicted to feeling depressed. It was just easier to feel and do as I already had.
The idea that I’m not supposed to feel a certain way only ensured my disassociation with what I experienced. To put it simply, “practice makes perfect.” Perfection is not what matters. What is being practiced is what matters. Perfection is relative. And so are emotions.
Don’t feel bad for feeling bad. You aren’t supposed to feel any specific emotion at any given time and no one, not even yourself, can tell you what you are supposed to feel. Emotions are of nature. To realize what your emotions are and what they mean is choice. People have unique lives and reactions and while we share many commonalities, we’re all just as diverse. This fact is not removed from our emotions. I have felt things I can’t describe… and I’m willing to bet I’ve had emotions no one else in the history of existence has ever felt. The words we assign to emotions are as artificial as the labels we place upon people and things. Labels and words are an artificial understand of the way things ARE.
Instead of feeling happy, which is something society TELLS us to feel when something good happens, try recognizing your completely NEW and UNIQUE emotion! If you must communicate how you feel to others, then “happy” may be a starting point. But unless someone lives your whole life up until that moment, then the emotion is lost in translation and no one recognizes the unique emotional fingerprints left everywhere.
I’ve been practicing something called ‘Gratitude and Service with a Smile to our Collective.’ This means instead of loving/hating everything… I will feel grateful for all things, people, and situations as they are. They are our collective experience. As long as I too am AT service to myself and others, I stop being IN service to myself or others. I’m no longer in a binding contract to the expectations that precede being IN service… And to do it all with a smile is the start of learning to create my own meaning of what it is to smile, instead of smiling when society tells me I’m feeling “happy.” 🙂