An Updated View on the Purpose of our Emotions
I know I’ve written posts like this in the past, but I really want to extend on everything I have come to discover.
For me, emotions serve an important purpose. They help us live better, they help us determine whether what’s happening to us is good or bad, based on experiences and things we were born to feel. For example, it’s natural for everyone to feel grief when we loose someone we love, that’s not even a learnt behaviour.
Much like when we have the urge to go to the restrooms, we get that feeling in the stomach. It’s interesting but try this experiment next time you’re peeing. Before you let it out, press down on your stomach. You get that urge, right? Now, while you are actually peeing, do that again. Press down on your stomach. You may be shocked to discover that sensation is completely gone. But if you stop peeing in the middle and try again, it’s back. Why is that? Because the urge to pee is a feeling created by your body to tell you a message. You NEED to go to the toilet. So when you are actually letting it out, the feeling is gone because its purpose is done.
Same as when we kick our feet into the wall by accident, we get a sharp pain. Our bodies don’t produce those things for no reason, it’s giving you a signal. Hey, you’re about to get bruised. BACK OFF!
I see emotions as something very similar to the examples above. It’s there to guide us.
Happiness – We instinctively know this is a good thing, we want more, and we like it. We become happy when something good happens. In other words, things that help us lead better lives.
Sadness – The opposite of happiness, it helps us determine what’s happening to us is a bad thing, therefore we should avoid it. Have you ever felt terrible about something, until you did something about it? Those feelings don’t go away on its own unless you really deal with them. That’s because these feelings are there to make you do something about it. The best way to get rid of sadness is to truly deal with the situation! Once you do, you may feel that sadness will lift!
Anger – Anger is often when we feel that our rights are compromised. We feel so overwhelmed by something that we can literally do ANYTHING. That’s because your body is giving you the pump it needs to perhaps get into a fight, or run away. Imagine if your life was threatened, and you felt sorry for the other person. That will put you at risk. That’s why anger kind of makes you say things you regret, or even do things, because at that moment, your body is taking away all your “caring nature” and making you a powerful fighter.
Excitement – Excitement is like the happy feeling you get when you are looking forward to something, and that’s a positive emotion. However, you may find that when you’re too excited, you can’t sleep. Perhaps it’s a reminder of what you truly want to do, and won’t go away until you’ve fulfilled it.
Fear – This is actually a very powerful emotion as it really helps keep us safe. However, it seems that often we don’t fear something until we’ve experienced something bad. It’s as if the body knew how to create antibodies, and will make you fear something to remind you of a potentially dangerous situation. Though fear can limit you, it can also be very powerful as it really does its job with helping us survive. Imagine if we had no fear, we’d probably want to experiment running in front of a bus to see if it sends us flying!
Disgust – One of the most powerful things that helps keep us away from disease and illness. Imagine if we were drawn to the smell of rotten food or poop. Oh dear, I can’t imagine!
Jealousy – It’s a feeling you get because you don’t want to be replaced or trashed, as that’s obviously not a good thing. It’s fearing that you may lose someone, or that you are not as good. This really comes down to a fear of loss, and the symptoms are often “jealousy”.
These are just some of my analysis for why we have the emotions we do. I really think understanding why we feel something is the best way for us to deal with ourselves. Instead of allowing others to treat us horribly because of the emotions we have, understanding it will hopefully give you a better insight to why this happens, and that your body is merely sending you these emotions to help you survive better.
So whatever emotion may be troubling you, remember it has a purpose. Without emotions, we wouldn’t know if what we’re experiencing is good or bad, like we may think it’s great when someone insults us, or that without anger, we’d simply allow others to take away our basic rights.