Thoughts on Emotions

By | July 23, 2011
  • It is common to misidentify the reason for feeling a certain way. We often think and/or feel that the source is something/someone that it is not. For example, you may get angry at someone for something silly, but the problem isn’t really them or what they did, it’s the fact that you’re tired.
  • Emotional statements and questions are different from logical/intellectual statements and questions. They should be handled differently, because they are really expressing different things. If someone asks “How could God let this happen?” after their child has been in a serious accident, they probably aren’t looking to get into a deep discussion about the “problem of pain”.
  • Emotional statements aren’t necessarily correct. There is a difference between saying “I think” and “I feel”. Sometimes we feel that something is a certain way even when we think differently. So when someone expresses an emotion, they may not even agree with it intellectually themselves.
  • Responding to emotional statements with criticism or correction is often more harmful than helpful. Correction as well as disagreements can be made, but they must be done in a very careful way. Emotions generally aren’t wrong in and of themselves, though the conclusions people make and actions they take can be. It is necessary therefore, to resist the wrong thoughts and actions while making sure to legitimize the feeling. For instance, one a friend berates someone. The latter person may feel worthless and unloved afterward. That is understandable, even if it is not true.
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