Which Is What?

How often have you heard someone accuse especially the women folk of being emotional? How do you treat those instances both inwardly and outwardly? And, why do you usually treat it that way? Me? Well, my response usually depends on who is saying it and how open-minded they are to different views. Overall, it is a social misnomer to say that women are emotional, and the only reason is because every single human being in the world, and animals are in fact, emotional! If anyone can as much as express any kind of emotion, then they are emotional. People without emotions of any sort would be in need of psychological evaluation.

Emotions are underrated, principally because we do not seem to realize that without a sound emotional system, our moral compasses, our decisions, and indeed our logic, are as flawed and dangerous to us as individuals, as it is for the people around us who must bear the direct or indirect consequences of the actions that would accompany such. Because of how lowly placed emotions are, many people believe that the best way to deal with their emotions is to bottle them away, or entirely switch them off. The issue here is that, erm…it is emotions, not social media. We can’t just switch it off or simply log out whenever we like. We need it for survival. It has helped us while we were yet vulnerable and helpless infants; it was the only tool we had for getting our needs met. And even in adulthood, we still rely on our emotions to create mutually satisfying bonds and get our psychosocial needs met.

So why does a powerful survival tool like emotion get to be seen as a weakness? It is because people mistake being hyper-excitable for being emotional, and these are two entirely different things though related. Being emotional is expressing emotions with grace. Being hyper-excitable is expressing emotions with theatrics. For example, a person can be happy but is not prancing about and offering near electroconvulsive handshakes and hugs to the people around them. A person can also be sad(and even shed tears) without acting out by yelling or breaking things. These are perfectly human states to be in. On the other hand, another person can be upset, and the whole apartment complex would have to hear of it, or sad, and the people around would have to set up a pity party to pacify the the person.

Another distinctive feature between being emotional and being hyper-excitable is that a person in an emotional state does not need to be pacified by external factors to come off the emotional state. In the case of being in an emotional state, the emotions outrun its course, and the individual transitions appropriately to other events. In hyper-excitable states, the individual needs to be pacified out of the prevailing emotion at the time. The reason is because prevailing emotions during hyper-excitable states can quickly morph into other more malignant emotional states. It would be easier to imagine how a prevailing state of anger can immediately morph into rage. But we rarely do imagine that in hyper-excitable states, a prevailing state of excitement can quickly morph into anger when the person expressing the emotion does not get the kind of response they expected, and this can quickly spiral down into a state of low self-esteem with an accompanying disruptive behavior.

A third distinguishing factor is that physical actions almost always accompanies hyper-excitability as compared to simply being emotional. Yes, there is a degree of impulsivity that comes with being hyper-excitable, and people with poor impulse control are more likely to find themselves in emotional roller-coaster situations.

Is it possible to separate emotions from intelligence or logic like people would normally suggest? No! Is it possible to rely on intelligence or logic alone to see us through every day living? No! Okay, is it possible to treat life with more logic than emotions? Yes, but not the smartest thing to do. The goal of life is to be a balanced human being as much as possible, and part of it is learning how to train and incorporate our emotions into every moment of our lives for a holistic human experience. Simply put; it takes intelligence to identify one’s emotions, and it takes emotions to stimulate one’s intelligence. It is a pari passu relationship.

We have to take care of and pay close attention to our emotional health. Healthy emotions should be encouraged. Let’s normalize graceful expression of well-trained emotions for a more satisfying interpersonal flow in our personal lives, and a mentally stabilizing work/life balance.

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