Sunday, September 17, 2017

No Such Thing as Bad Emotions

There is no such thing as bad emotions. However, there is such a thing as an emotion gone bad.

I cringe when someone says that we should remain objective at all times and not let our emotions influence our decisions. There is no running away from that abstract, often mushy stuff that goes on inside of us - no matter how much you want to reason it away, it is always there! This is what makes us human in the first place. For example, anger is not a wrong emotion. However anger gone bad becomes destructive. Anger is a part of our emotional repertoire that helps us to rightly respond to life. Let me explain.

If you as a parent witness the addictive habit of video-gaming in your teenage son, do you then just sit back idly and say that - "Well, boys will be boys, what can I do?" That to me is a passive response and do not signal your love for your son. In fact, if you truly love your son, you will be angry - not angry at him as a human being but angry at the addictive habit which is eating away at his potential to become someone better than this! However, if you are angry because his habit is disturbing your peace at home and irritates your schedule - then it is anger which is misdirected, it is anger gone bad because the focus of your emotions is not for your son's good but for your own selfish comfort and convenience.

So the next time you are tempted to dismiss certain "negative" feelings like anger or frustration, ask yourself - "What cause I am defending?" - if you are defending your own preferences and ego, then it is an emotion gone bad but if it is directed towards the good of another, then your emotions has the right focus which will then lead to the right actions.

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