How Are We Affected by Emotions?
In his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin wrote that most emotions bear purposes and are therefore the products of natural selection. In a primitive tribe, anger, which seems negative and harmful in common sense, keeps one being feared by others and helps establish authority.
Pride and sense of shame help one maintain their social status. In modern social life, emotions help: a. Communicate with others; b. Affect others’ attitude toward us; c. Express kindness (e.g. a polite smile). It is widely believed that your emotions depend on how you view things and evaluate yourself.
In the well-known case with a half glass of water, some people see the glass half full whereas some others find the glass half empty. You may think this is a word game. However, it’s not difficult to conclude that the two groups view things from different perspectives, with the former focusing on the full part of the glass and the latter on the void of the glass. The same principle applies to many real-life scenarios. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will find yourself in discontent and struggle to get more out of life. But if you always appreciate what you have, you’ll be content and happy with life. It’s not a matter of being positive or negative, but of how you feel. From positive emotions, you’ll feel good about yourself and in life. Over time, this positive outlook will change the ways you think, look and behave for the better. At the end, you’ll become the fragrant rose that draws people close to you.
You may wonder how to achieve that. Imagine that you are about to fly into a temper because someone did something that drives you crazy. Instead of lashing out, take a deep breath and try to recognize what emotion you are in. If you think you’ll feel good, then go ahead and throw a temper. If you think it’ll damage your mood for the rest of the day, step back and ask yourself whether it’s worth it.
That does not mean that you should suppress bad emotions when it’s necessary to let them out. Feel the emotions and then decide what to do. We have little control over when we will be swept by emotions or what these emotions will be, but we have some control over how long they will last. Whenever something comes up, the golden principle is “stop to identify your emotion and decide whether to end it or feel it”.
We believe everyone deserves to be a master of their emotions.